It’s official. Hillary Clinton may have the lion’s share of Democratic superdelegates lined up for her big party in Philadelphia, but one of them will have to RSVP in the negative. Former New York assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver (a Democrat) will be otherwise occupied when his party holds their convention this summer because he’ll be starting a lengthy stretch in prison. Delivering one of the more stern pronouncements seen from the bench for a former high ranking politico, the judge showed no mercy whatsoever. (NY Daily News)
For two decades, Sheldon Silver served as one of the most powerful men in New York State. On Tuesday, a judge ordered he serve the next 12 years in prison.
The allegedly adulterous ex-State Assembly Speaker, convicted of twin corruption schemes that earned him $4 million, was slammed by was slammed by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Valerie Caproni as being one of the most corrupt elected officials the state has ever seen.
“None involve an official as high up in New York government as you were,” she said, reflecting on other convicted pols.
“None, as far as I can tell, yielded nearly as much in ill gotten gains or lasted nearly as long,” she said.
In addition to the stretch behind bars, Silver was ordered to return five million dollars in kickback money and pay an additional $1.75M fine. One attorney I spoke with predicted that Silver won’t actually spend the full stretch in prison. It seems likely that he may only do five years, or possibly even as few as three, so this may not wind up being a life sentence for the 72 year old. As to paying the fines, Silver doesn’t seem to be short of cash (for some reason) so that shouldn’t be an issue for him either.
Of course, he probably shouldn’t look for any help from his long time friend and ally Hillary Clinton. Here’s a picture of the cozy couple from happier times.
This is the latest demonstration of the power of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and if there’s one person who should be nervous over this development it’s New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. As you may recall, Bharara has turned his gaze on the mayor in the current fundraising scandal. If we’ve learned anything about his process it’s that this guy is a bulldog when it comes to chasing down corruption and he’s absolutely fearless when it comes to taking down the politically powerful. He didn’t hold back on his feelings when the sentence was handed down, either.
The sentence likely represents the zenith of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s ongoing investigation of what he’s called a “show-me-the-money culture” in the cesspool of Albany politics.
“Today’s stiff sentence is a just and fitting end to Sheldon Silver’s long career of corruption,” Bharara tweeted just minutes after the verdict.
There’s an old saying which holds that it’s sometimes difficult to remember that your original objective was to drain the swamp when you’re up to your gluteus maximus in alligators. In the case of Preet Bharara, he seems to be alligator-proof and the water levels in the swamp of Albany are a lot lower than they used to be.