Conviction of ex-New York Assembly speaker is tossed


Former Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam are also appealing their corruption convictions by citing the same Supreme Court decision.

Sheldon Silver obtained almost $4 million for taking official actions that benefited others. The decision was based, in part, on a U.S. Supreme Court decision previous year that overturned a corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov.

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The court said extortion and honest services fraud evidence brought against Silver in the trial was sufficient to prove his guilt, but that the district court's instruction to the jury on those charges "was erroneous" under the terms of the Supreme Court's decision in the McConnell case. In return, the doctor referred asbestos patients to Weitz & Luxenberg, which employed Silver as of counsel and paid him for the referrals.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison but allowed to remain free while his appeal was being considered. Federal prosecutors could decide to retry the case.

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The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it could not conclude that a rational jury would have convicted the Democrat if it had been properly instructed on what constitutes an "official act". Both Silver's and the Skeloses convictions were the culmination of a campaign against corruption in Albany led by Preet Bharara, the former USA attorney in Manhattan. "Sheldon Silver is absolutely guilty of corrupting his office and violating the public trust of 19 million New Yorkers".

"We recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver's trial with distaste".

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