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Federal Judge Declines to Dismiss Sheldon Silver Charges

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Assemblyman Sheldon Silver.
Assemblyman Sheldon Silver.

A Manhattan judge yesterday denied Lower East Side Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s third attempt to get federal corruption charges dismissed.

In his filing, Silver argued that the extortion charges he faces are not crimes but simple “coercion” and that, at worst, allegations that he took kickbacks amount to “conflicts of interest.” In an 18-page ruling, Judge Valerie Caponi wrote, “None of Silver’s arguments is persuasive… Evidence that Silver went to lengths to conceal his allegedly ill-gotten gains is evidence both of Silver’s knowledge that the money that he received constituted ‘criminally derived property’ … and evidence of Silver’s consciousness of guilt regarding his allegedly fraudulent and extortionate activities.” The judge added, “The allegations in the superseding indictment do not make Silver look like a boy scout.”

The court did order U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to provide Silver’s legal team with a more complete summary of the evidence against the former Assembly speaker.

In April, Caproni rejected another motion to dismiss the charges after Silver argued that Bharara’s public comments following his January arrest tainted the jury pool.  She did, however, scold the prosecutor for his conduct.

Defense attorney Joel Cohen said, “We’re in the process of studying the judge’s opinion and, as before, we look forward to a trial of this case in which Mr. Silver will clear his name.”  Silver is charged seven counts, including mail and wire fraud, extortion and money laundering. His trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 2.

Silver relinquished his leadership position earlier this year but remains a member of the Assembly.

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  1. Here’s a comment posted on behalf of Clayton Patterson:

    Money, money money, is what it seems Silver is all about. Under Silvers leadership there are very few Jewish businesses left on the LES… and then look at all the other community businesses and apartments the community has lost. In my area we have over a billion dollars worth of new luxury hotels and apartments and nothing for the community. They even got rid of the Boys Club on Pitts Street and one wonders why we have more crime. Silver’s partner in crime is in jail for stealing off the poor Jews. How cool is that? Now it has been exposed that he and his partners in crime have spent over 40 years fighting against low and middle income apartments. These guys never know when to cut and run. He and his pals had made millions, yet they have to hang in there for the last 10 cents and they get caught. All is very sad. But what the heck- he just dropped 1.5 million tax payers money on fighting his criminal case. How many others on the LES, have millions of other peoples money to spent on legal fees?

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