U.S. Supreme Court clears way for Silver retrial

Associated Press / Seth Wenig Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver left court on May 3, after he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his conviction last November on seven counts of corruption, including extortion, honest-services fraud and money laundering.

Associated Press / Seth Wenig
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block the retrial of Sheldon Silver, whose corruption conviction was overturned last year on a technicality.


The nation’s highest court has scuttled disgraced pol Sheldon Silver’s bid to dodge a second jury trial on corruption charges stemming from his alleged $4 million quid-pro-quo scheme.

The former Assembly Speaker had hoped that the US Supreme Court would abet his legal scheme to avoid a second trial after a lower court upheld his appeal on a technicality, but the lofty legal body gave notice Jan. 16 that they wouldn’t hear Silver’s case.

The 73-year-old Silver, who once represented Lower Manhattan as one of the three most powerful politicians in New York State — the so-called “three men in a room” — was convicted in 2015 on corruption charges stemming from various schemes, including directing state research funds to a mesothelioma doctor in exchange for referring patients to his legal firm, and referring real-estate firms with business before the Assembly to another law office for a fee.

But Shelly’s fortunes turned after an appeals court ruled that his prosecutors had not properly instructed jurors on the definition of an “official act,” following a US Supreme Court verdict narrowing the definition of the term after overturning a similar conviction in the case of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.

That appeals court did not, however, rule that state prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to bag a guilty verdict, ultimately leaving Shelly open to retrial, which has been tentatively set to April 16.

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