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Nov. 2 Trial Date Set For Sheldon Silver

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A federal judge today set a Nov. 2 date for Lower East Side Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial. The former Assembly Speaker is accused of accepting $4 million in kickbacks. Also in court today, Silver pleaded not guilty to all charges in a rewritten indictment. Federal prosecutors have added a new charge, alleging that he illegally invested some of the money.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said the feds will need about a month to present their case. Silver’s attorneys asked for more time to prepare their defense but Judge Valerie Caproni signaled she wants to get on with the trial. “Your client wants a trial. I want to give him a trial. Let’s get this resolved,” she said.

Following the hearing, Silver said, “I’m glad a trial date is set…I’m confident that at the end of the process I will be totally vindicated.”

The Observer has more details from inside the courtroom:

When Judge Valerie Caproni entered the courtroom and proceedings began, Mr. Silver’s legal team, Steven F. Molo and Joel Cohen, promptly offered his not guilty plea to the new superseding indictment. The arraignment over quickly, Judge Caproni moved on to other business in the case—including a change to Mr. Silver’s bail conditions. He will now be allowed to travel anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. The defense also questioned whether, after changing the indictment once already, the prosecution would offer up yet another change before the trial actually begins. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie H. Cohen was tight-lipped about that, saying the government would bring new charges if they arise. “Can you give me a hint?” Judge Caproni asked… “At this point, the superseding indictment is the indictment,” Ms. Cohen said. But if new crimes were discovered, she would “not rule out” another superseding indictment.

While Silver was forced to step down as speaker, he is holding on to his Assembly seat, representing Lower Manhattan.

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