Former High Ranking New York Democrat Found Guilty In Retrial

On Friday, former powerful Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver was found guilty of federal corruption charges during a retrial after his 2015 conviction for the same charges were thrown out last year.

The New York Post reports:

A jury of seven women and five men found Silver, 74, guilty of all seven counts against him, including two counts of honest services mail fraud and money laundering.

"Sheldon Silver repeatedly used his enormous public power for his own enormous private gain," prosecutor Tatiana R. Martins said.

During the retrial, Silver was convicted of two corrupt schemes that earned him the $4 million in illegal payments in return for using his office to take a series of actions that benefited a cancer research doctor and two real estate developers.

The first scheme involved Columbia University cancer researcher doctor Robert Taub, who sent Silver lucrative referrals for patients suffering from mesothelioma because he wanted Silver to give him government funds so he could expand his research into the disease caused by exposure to asbestos. The Post notes:

Silver earned $3 million in referral fees off Taub’s patients and in return gave him $500,000 in taxpayer money to support his research, as well as help finding jobs for Taub’s adult children.

The second scheme involved two real estate developers who sent their tax business to a lawyer who then split his fees with Silver because Silver sent business to both of the developers.

Prosecutors argued that Silver knew what he was doing was wrong because when the doctor called Silver in 2014 to tell him that federal investigators were asking questions, Silver asked, “Did you tell them anything?”

"'Did you tell them anything?' That’s what Silver cared about, making sure Dr. Taub, his golden goose, kept his mouth shut," Martins argued. "Sheldon Silver had abused his office for profit and he knew it."

Silver faces up to 130 years in prison when he is sentenced.

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