Ex-NY assembly speaker Silver's conviction overturned

Silver seen leaving federal court last year was found guilty of several corruption charges in November 2015

Silver seen leaving federal court last year was found guilty of several corruption charges in November 2015

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver walks out of the Federal Courthouse after his arraignment.

A federal appeals court overturned the conviction on corruption charges of former NY state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, saying the jury was improperly instructed on the legal aspects of the case.

Silver was convicted in 2015 of honest services fraud, extortion and bribery and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

A federal jury convicted Silver two years ago of accepting $5 million in bribes, by virtue of his ceremonial job at a law firm specializing in recovering damages for asbestos-related illnesses and his dealings with a real estate developer reliant on state funds for its business. United States decision, "because it is not clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have reached the same conclusion if properly instructed".

Kim said a retrial would likely provide "the justice that New Yorkers got upon Silver's conviction".

That language of the 48-page ruling, which includes six pages of appendices, echoes what the Supreme Court's Chief Justice John Roberts said of McDonnell. The judges wrote that most people would view those scenarios with "distaste", but they ruled that the instructions that the trial judge gave to the Silver jury were incorrect.

Prosecutors may retry Silver, a 73-year-old Democrat from Manhattan who served more than two decades as Assembly speaker.

The decision by a federal appeals court turned on the U.S. Supreme Court's precedent-setting ruling in the case of former Virginia Gov. "Given the teachings of the Supreme Court in McDonnell, and the particular circumstances of this case, we simply can not reach that conclusion".

But McDonnell's lawyers countered that his actions were limited to routine political courtesies and he never put his thumb on a scale by exercising government power on Williams' behalf. Silver's jury only considered whether he had acted "under the color" of his elected office.

However, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is defending his prosecution of Silver. "I expect Sheldon Silver to be retried and re-convicted".

No matter how terrible these facts may have appeared on paper, the Second Circuit ruled as "erroneous" the convictions that resulted from them. In fact, they rejected every attempt by Silver's legal team to contest the quality of the dirty deeds prosecutors aired during his five-week trial.

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