Silver Begins Serving 6 1/2 Year Prison Term in Otisville

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In the past week, former Lower East Side Assemblyman Sheldon Silver began serving a 6 and 1/2 year prison sentence. Back in 2015, he was arrested on public corruption charges, but had remained free while a lengthy appeals process played out.

As of Wednesday, he had reported to the federal prison in Otisville. The facility is located about 80 miles north of New York City, near the Catskill Mountains. The Associated Press reported that Silver was tested for COVID-19 and placed in quarantine for 14 days.

Silver was first convicted in two embezzlement schemes in 2015, but that verdict was thrown out on appeal. He was convicted again in 2018. An appeals court invalidated part of the second verdict. In July, he was sentenced in connection with the remaining counts, which covered a scheme to pocket $800,000 in legal fees in exchange for advancing legislation beneficial to two real estate firms.  Silver was the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly at the time.

Silver, 76, argued that he should be allowed to serve his sentence at home, due to health concerns over the coronavirus. But the judge imposed a lengthy prison sentence, saying, “His time has come… He needs to go to jail.”

During the pandemic, no visitors are allowed at Otisville.