OpenCdA’s post on December 1, 2015, titled Another Conviction for Corruption (Somewhere Else) reported the conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) on federal corruption charges.
Today, May 3, 2016, Preet Bharara (D), the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that Silver was sentenced to 12 years in federal prision by US District Judge Valerie E. Caproni. US Attorney Bharara’s formal announcement contains a good explanation of the crimes proven against Silver. It also describes the schemes and mechanisms Silver used to sell his elected position in the New York State Legislature and thereby personally enrich himself.
We had to give his attorneys an “E” for Effort in invoking the unofficial and undocumented Idaho Standard frequently used by prosecutors as an excuse to not charge or to plead down sentences: “Mr. Silver has demonstrated a capacity to do a tremendous amount of good for the public. His personality, vision, and persistence have been brought to bear with great effect. It is doubtful this Court will ever sentence a defendant with as rich a record of doing so much for others.” (see this Washington Post article).
Boy, were his attorneys ever wrong.
Public officials often rely on the advice of either their own or their governing body’s legal counsel, often assuming that reliance somehow makes them immune from the law and the court. We remind those officials of what Silver learned today: Every federal prisoner sitting (or soon to be sitting) in a federal prison was represented and advised by legal counsel.
Hi-yo, Silver! Away!