Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been released on furlough from federal prison in the Hudson Valley as he awaits a decision about whether the 77-year-old disgraced politician can serve out his term in home confinement.
Silver, once one of New York’s most powerful politicians, was sentenced last year to six-and-a-half years in prison following his 2018 conviction on bribery and corruption charges.
Specifically, Silver was found guilty of two counts of honest service wire fraud, two counts of honest services mail fraud, two counts of extortion under the color of official right, and one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions.
This week, less than a year into his term, Silver was reportedly sprung from the Otisville Prison in Orange County and has since returned to his Manhattan residence as he awaits a ruling regarding his home confinement.
In a statement, the Bureau of Prisons said Silver is still “designated” to Otisville Prison, but added that it has the power to transfer inmates to their home on furlough.
“We can share that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has authority to transfer inmates to their home on furlough for periods of time while they may continue to be considered for home confinement designation,” she stated.
Silver resigned as the Assembly speaker in 2015 after 21 years following his initial conviction. His lawyers had previously sought a sentence of home confinement and community service, citing Silver’s age, health, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which was raging at the time of his sentencing last July.
Federal officials said that for more than two decades, while serving as the speaker, Silver “used this immense power – including, in particular, his power over the real estate industry and his control over certain health care funding – to unlawfully and corruptly enrich himself.”
“Your Honor, I do not want to die in prison,” Silver wrote in a letter to the judge prior to his sentencing. “This case has been going on for more than five years, but I feel like I have aged 15 or 20 years. My fate is in your hands.”
Silver was found guilty of soliciting client referrals worth millions of dollars in exchange for official acts and then attempted to disguise that money as legitimate income earned from his work as a private attorney. He is expected to begin serving his sentence in the fall.
“When he assumed his powerful position at the top of New York State government, Sheldon Silver took an oath to do the work of the people,” prosecutors said at the time of his conviction. “Instead, he leveraged his tremendous influence to pad his bank account and line his pockets.
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