December 1, 2015

Another Conviction for Corruption (Somewhere Else)

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:18 am

sheldonsilver-012215 copyBack in January 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded a lengthy public corruption investigation with the arrest of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Information about his corruption and his betrayal of those who elected him were in this press release issued on January 22, 2015, by Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  The slimy, grimy details of how Sheldon Silver, this purportedly highly respected pillar of the community, abused his elected position and profited by exploiting it are in the 35-page complaint on January 21, 2015, seeking a warrant for his arrest.

Yesterday, US Attorney Preet Bharara issued another statement, this one announcing the conviction of the aforementioned slimeball on all corruption charges.  Bharara’s press release was elegant in its one-sentence simplicity.

The New York Times article about Silver’s conviction had more information, but it added little to Bharara’s comment.

It seems to us that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara gets New York’s corrupt public officials convicted because he and the FBI’s investigators look for it,  and Bharara doesn’t dismiss evidence of it as “miscommunications“.  Thanks to their dedication and professional persistence, “Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.”

Addendum on 12-01-2015 at 4:40 p.m.:  This ABC news story titled Jury Convicted NY Ex-Speaker Despite No ‘Smoking Gun’ had several good discussion points.

  • “There was no star witness, no damning testimony, no briefcase stuffed with cash […] Instead, legal experts say, a jury convicted the Manhattan Democrat of corruption Monday based a slow drip of circumstantial evidence…”  Essentially, the news reports that there were no witnesses who were present to hear and see when and if Silver and others agreed that Silver would perform legislative acts specifically in return for payments disguised as legal fees.  Had there been such witnesses, they would have offered direct testimonial evidence of what they saw and heard.  Instead, the case against Silver was “based on a slow drip of circumstantial evidence,” evidence which as been admitted and which allows a juror to draw reasonable inferences about what the evidence shows or does not show.  Obviously the Silver trial jurors were persuaded that the slow drip of circumstantial evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Silver was guilty of the crimes alleged.
  • “In many similar cases, prosecutors have a witness or a document explicitly describing what a defendant would do in exchange for an inducement, according to Albany defense attorney E. Stewart Jones. […] “That’s the central issue, whether they proved a quid pro quo,” said Jones, using the Latin term used to describe illegal ‘this-for-that’ schemes.”  And that is often why prosecutors run and hide from public corruption cases or even complex white collar criminal conspiracy cases — it takes exceptionally good investigators and equally skilled and competent prosecutors to prove these very difficult cases beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • “”When the leader of a ‘respected body’ [the state legislature] is convicted on seven felony counts of corruption and fraud, it is time for the people to question the premise that it is a ‘respected body,'” said Assemblyman Michael Kearns, D-Buffalo.”  Amen!

1 Comment

  1. It is interesting that former Speaker Silver is a “Democrat” in a strongly “Democrat” state, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney was chief counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer (D) and was nominated to be U.S. Attorney by President Obama (D). One has to wonder why Wendy J. Olson, the U.S. Attorney for Idaho, who was nominated by President Obama, seems willing to ignore political shenanigans in a “Republican” state like Idaho.

    Comment by Tributary — December 4, 2015 @ 9:28 am

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