From The Washington Times:
NEW YORK — Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, once one of New York’s most powerful politicians, was convicted Monday of charges that he traded favors to earn $5 million illegally and then lied about it.
The Manhattan federal court jury returned the verdict after a three-week trial in which prosecutors claimed that the 71-year-old Democrat repeatedly promised the favors so he could enrich himself. The defense countered that the government was trying to criminalize the longtime routines of politics in Albany.
Even in a state capital where more than 30 lawmakers have left office facing criminal charges or allegations of ethical misconduct since 2000, the case against Silver was an extraordinary turn. An assemblyman since 1976, Silver was one of Albany’s most storied political figures, a consummate backroom operator with the power to single-handedly decide the fate of legislation.
His prosecution was a marquee case in Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s quest to clean up state government, an effort that has led to the ongoing corruption trial of New York’s state Senate leader, Republican Dean Skelos. After Silver’s arrest in January, Mr. Bharara portrayed the case as a product of Albany’s “cauldron of corruption.”
Mr. Bharara said that with the verdict, “Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.”
Silver’s lawyer, Steven Molo, said his client was disappointed and intended to appeal.
With the conviction, Silver automatically loses his Assembly seat. He had kept it while fighting the charges, although he…