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Ex-New York Assembly speaker sentenced to 78 months in prison

Ex-New York Assembly speaker sentenced to 78 months in prison
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Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 78 months in prison on Monday after having been convicted on corruption charges twice since 2015. 

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, an Obama appointee, sentenced Silver, a Democrat, for the third time after previous convictions had been partly or fully overturned. 

Silver’s attorneys asked for their client to serve his term in home confinement, citing the coronavirus and his experience with cancer and chronic kidney disease, The New York Times reported

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Silver’s lawyers said in a letter that his “multiple health conditions” would “significantly predispose him to the worst outcomes if infected with Covid-19, including death.”

“The risk here is very real,” his attorney James Loonam said at the hearing, the Times reported.

But Caproni said Silver “acted out of a sense of greed” and decided serving no time in prison was not appropriate.

“This was corruption, pure and simple,” she said. 

The former Speaker of the state assembly acknowledged his behavior was “improper, selfish and ethically indefensible.”

“I know that a lot of people have lost faith in their government,” Silver said, according to the newspaper. “And I know that my actions contributed.” 

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Silver served as the Speaker for more than 20 years before he was convicted in 2015 of taking almost $4 million in illicit payments in exchange for favors. He was involved in schemes involving real estate development and accused in one involving a cancer researcher at Columbia University.

The former Speaker was originally sentenced to 12 years but was free on bond until the conviction was overturned in 2017, according to the Times.

During his retrial, he was convicted and sentenced to seven years before the conviction involving the cancer researcher was overturned. But the appeals court upheld his conviction relating to the real estate developers and another money laundering scheme, which is what he was sentenced for Monday.

Federal prosecutors had said a sentence of more than 10 years for Silver was appropriate but requested Caproni uphold at least the seven-year sentence from the second trial.