A corruption conviction against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been tossed out by a federal appeals court.
Silver was convicted in 2015 for honest services fraud, extortion and bribery, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. According to reports, the decision to overturn the conviction was based, in part, on a Supreme Court decision last year that overturned a corruption conviction of a former Virginia governor.
During his trial, evidence was introduced to jurors that implicated Silver for utilizing his former position to steer millions of dollars to himself.
“We recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver’s trial with distaste. The question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the government,” the appeals court wrote in its decision, according to reports. “Rather, it is whether it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury, properly instructed, would have found Silver guilty.”
In a statement, United States Attorney for the Southern District Joon Kim vowed to retry the case.
“While we are disappointed by the Second Circuit’s decision, we respect it, and look forward to retrying the case,” he stated. “Although finding that the Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision issued after Silver’s conviction required a different legal instruction to the jury, the Second Circuit also held that the evidence presented at the trial was sufficient to prove all the crimes charged against Silver, even under the new legal standard.
“Although this decision puts on hold the justice that New Yorkers got upon Silver’s conviction, we look forward to presenting to another jury the evidence of decades-long corruption by one of the most powerful politicians in New York State history. Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied.”
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