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Silver Will Stay Out of Prison Until Appeal is Heard (Updated)

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Sheldon Silver at the federal courthouse in Lower Mnhattan during his trial.
Sheldon Silver at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan during his trial.

Sheldon Silver will remain a free man for at least a few more weeks. He was supposed to start serving a 12-year prison sentence at the end of this month after being convicted on federal corruption charges. Judge Valerie Caproni today set a new schedule for the former Lower East Side assemblyman’s case.

Silver’s attorneys asked the judge to allow him to stay out of prison while appealing the conviction. They believe his appeal gained more traction after the U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned a Virginia corruption case.

The judge has not decided on the appeal just yet. If she rules against the former speaker, he is widely expected to appeal to a higher court. Silver would not be required to surrender and pay $6.6 million in fines until 14 days after the appeals court decision, or Oct. 27, whichever date is later.

Silver was convicted late last year of fraud, extortion and money laundering.

UPDATE 11 p.m. Later in the day on Thursday, Judge Caproni ruled that Silver may delay reporting to federal prison until his appeal is considered. The New York Times reported:

Prosecutors had charged that Mr. Silver had obtained nearly $4 million in illicit payments and bribes in return for official actions that benefited a prominent cancer researcher at Columbia University and two real estate developers. Judge Caproni, in her opinion, made it clear she believed that Mr. Silver had engaged in such conduct. “There is no question that Silver took a number of official acts — most obviously passing legislation and approving state grants and tax-exempt financing — as part of a quid pro quo” in two schemes, she wrote. But, citing the recent (U.S. Supreme Court) decision, she added that there was a “substantial question” whether the court’s instructions to the jury, which defined official action, were in error, and if so, whether that error was harmless.

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