New York – Less than two weeks before he is due to be sentenced on corruption charges, Sheldon Silver’s wife is asking a federal judge to go easy on her husband, citing his recent battle with prostate cancer.
“It terrifies me that his father and brother both died from the same kind of cancer Shelly was diagnosed with,” wrote Rosa Silver in a letter written several weeks ago. According to the Daily News, the letter was made public this week and emphasized the 72 year old Silver’s many accomplishments on behalf of the people of the State of New York.
Mrs. Silver asked Judge Valerie Caproni for leniency while prosecutors are asking for a sentence of more than 14 years in a federal penitentiary.
Several prominent rabbis have also gone to bat for Silver, as reported by The Forward, citing his long record of community service.
The Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, acknowledged Silver’s misdeeds while requesting a lesser sentence.
“I would respectfully urge that you focus on the entirety of Mr. Silver’s career, not just his unfortunate deviations from legal strictures,” wrote Rabbi Perlow.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union, wrote a letter on Silver’s behalf, citing an instance of Silver reaching out to an insurance company to advocate for a sick person who needed help covering their medical expenses. That letter, which described Silver as a “good person” was written by Rabbi Genack on the stationery of his synagogue, Congregation Shomrei Emunah of Teaneck, and not that of the OU.
Other who wrote letters to Judge Caproni on Silver’s behalf include former New York City mayor David Dinkins, United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, Silver’s former chief of staff Judy Rapfogel, and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein.
“In the four decades of our association, Mr. Silver volunteered his assistance, participation and support for many important civil and human rights, for advancing intergroup relations, and aiding charitable and communal undertakings,” Hoenlein wrote. “He did so without seeking public recognition.”
In a letter of his own written to Judge Caproni, Silver admitted that he failed the people of New York, but asked her to consider his years of public service and to consider his “lifetime of hard work and many good deeds.
Silver will be sentenced in federal court on May 3rd in Manhattan federal court.