State Watch

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released from prison: report

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Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) has been released from prison on furlough, a source told The Associated Press.

Silver was released to his home as he awaits a final decision on if he can serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement.

Silver, 77, began serving a more than six-year sentence on corruption charges at a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., in August, the AP reported.

The sentence marked Silver’s third, after previous convictions against the former Speaker were partly or fully overturned on appeal, which kept him out of prison.

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, which prosecuted Silver, told the AP that it sent an email to the Bureau of Prisons on Monday expressing opposition to Silver’s furlough.

In a statement to The Hill, the bureau said, “For privacy, safety, and security reasons, we do not discuss release plans for any inmate.”

The AP noted that Congress expanded the Justice Department’s powers amid the coronavirus pandemic, allowing inmates to be released on furlough and home confinement to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

Last May, Michael Cohen, former President Trump’s ex-attorney, was released from the same Otisville facility, a move that was in line with the Justice Department’s efforts to reduce the number of inmates in prisons amid the pandemic.

The Bureau of Prisons also said that it sometimes transfers inmates to their homes for periods of time while they are considered for home confinement or placement in a halfway house.

The Hill reached out to the federal Otisville prison and the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan for comment.

Silver served as New York Assembly Speaker for more than 20 years, before being convicted in 2015 for taking nearly $4 million in illicit payments in exchange for favors.

He was involved with schemes involving real estate development, and he was accused of partaking in a plot involving a cancer researcher at Columbia University.

In January, the Supreme Court denied Silver’s request to take up an appeal of his sentence.

Silver was rumored to have been considered for a last-minute pardon from Trump, but no such clemency was granted.

—Updated at 4:44 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Federal Bureau of Prisons Michael Cohen Sheldon Silver

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