Sheldon Silver Gets Shot At Freedom After Appeals Court Vacates Convictions

Sheldon Silver Gets Shot At Freedom After Appeals Court Vacates Convictions

Sheldon Silver Gets Shot At Freedom After Appeals Court Vacates Convictions

On May 3, 2016, federal judge Valerie E. Caproni of the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY sentenced Silver to 12 years in jail, and ordered him to pay $5.3 million in ill-gotten gains and $1.75 million in additional fines.

The 2nd Circuit rejected Silver's argument that the evidence federal prosecutors presented was insufficient for conviction. Federal prosecutors could decide to retry the case.

The appeals court, while acknowledging the "distaste" of Silver's actions, said the jury was improperly instructed on what constituted official acts of the one-time most powerful Democrat in state politics.

The high court in September 2016 overturned the conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, saying that prosecutors had not adequately proved that there was a quid pro quo in the alleged bribery case.

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In a 54-page decision, the 2nd Circuit explained that that the trial court gave incorrect instructions to the jury as deliberations began during the 2015 prosecution. "Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied".

But the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office has vowed to retry Silver, and several experts interviewed by the Daily News said he could still wind up behind bars. "Rather, it is whether it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury, properly instructed, would have found Silver guilty", Circuit Judge Jose A. Cabranes wrote.

A jury found that Silver took about $4 million in kickbacks from schemes involving a real estate firm and an oncologist.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was in charge when Silver was convicted and sentenced, wrote on Twitter that the evidence was "strong", and the Supreme Court had "changed the law". Indeed, the court said the definition of "official act" that jurors received at the Silver trial was way too broad, since it encompassed "any action taken or to be taken under color of official authority". Overturning Mr. Silver's conviction based on the Judge's instructions to the jury, which occurred before the McDonnell ruling, does not redefine the facts in evidence. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), whose trial is scheduled to begin in September. "Silver's activities were, they don't meet the definition of a crime", he said.

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