New York – Appeals Court Panel Sympathetic To Sheldon Silver’s Claims


    FILE -  Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly, leaves  federal court after his sentencing in New York, New York, USA, 03 May 2015.EPANew York – Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s quest to avoid prison got a boost when a panel of appeals judges heard his appeal Wednesday, questioning whether his actions were crimes or politics as usual.

    The Democrat wasn’t at oral arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, but he likely heard a positive report from his lawyers.

    Two of the panel’s three judges questioned whether Silver’s actions fit the definition of a public corruption crime after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowed the requirements of the law.

    Silver, 75, is appealing his conviction and seven-year prison sentence. Prosecutors said he collected nearly $4 million in fees to help a cancer researcher and real estate developers. An earlier conviction was overturned on appeal after the high court redefined the law.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel insisted there was enough evidence to convict Silver and that the trial judge properly instructed jurors about the law.

    Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan said a description by prosecutors of what Silver promised to do in return for business steered to a law firm was “pretty squishy.”

    And he seemed critical of the prosecution’s efforts to claim proof of Silver’s crimes included his advice on how to get a charity race permit that he provided to a doctor who referred law clients to him.

    “If somebody wants to pay money for that, it’s not good, but it’s not a crime, right?” Sullivan asked.

    Circuit Judge Richard C. Wesley, who served in the New York Assembly from 1982 to 1986, spoke of the need to separate what is crime from what is the norm in politics.

    As an example, he said anyone who accepts money from the National Rifle Association probably knows that a vote on legislation against the NRA’s wishes will prompt disappointment by the group and possibly the end to contributions.

    “That’s the nature of politics, sir,” he told Richenthal, the prosecutor. “People just don’t give you money to be your friends. Believe me, I can tell you that from four years in the Legislature.”

    At another point, Wesley said some of the crimes described in the case seemed so vague that the allegations “get very close to the line of the danger of just currying favor.”

    Silver remains free on bail.

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    1. It was obvious to many that the bar to convict was never reached. In order to be found guilty of accepting bribes, the prosecution needs to show a quid pro quo (e.g. Council member says “Ok, give me $25k & I’ll get you a zoning variance; this was never proven Shelley’s case.

    2. this is a miscarriage of justice of the highest order! BECAUSE he is a democrat they give him a pass, skelos is rotting in jail for the SAME exact thing, as is Mangano as did Grimm all Republicans but toeiva Shelly is a Democrat and like Rangel and Sharpton gets a pass. de blasio does even worse than this teacher union owned “frum” politician yet didn’t even get a grand jury to consider the charges. remember these “judges” were appointed by cuomo

      • I think you want that to be the case but in reality it may work. And i hope it does. The argument is a valid one. This is politics and without a quid pro quo as the supreme court ruled its not guilty.

        Sheldon is another victim of overzealous prosecutors looking to advance their career. Those viscous KGB thugs went after his daughter and son in law too. If you don’t cooperate they will crush you and your family. Silver suffered enough. What happened to compassion in this country?

        We need to put a stop to this process of prosecutions. Enough already.

        • Well said.

          Just like KGB.
          I attended both trials. All witnesses testified that there never was any corrupt agreement in place. They put up enough political smell which any jury won’t like, but a crime was never committed.
          It was no secret that Shelly was on Weitz and Lux’s team. The mad his nothing and properly reported everything accordingly.

    3. Jury convicted him based on hysteria about corruption, not the facts. He never promised anything and the grant was given before he ever got referrals. total political hack job.I hope he walks free once Judges with legal sense see there was never a quid pro quo. When he wins the appeals, he should sue for his millions in legal bills for prosecutorial over zelaousness and undue political influence .

      • I believe as a public official he will be entitled to all his legal fees if he beh wins.
        Joe Bruno got a few million in legal fees after his acquittal.
        I also hope he can sue for this malicious prosecution that cost the gov many many more millions than what they claimed Shelly earned.


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