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Ex-NY state speaker gets 6 1/2 years in prison

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MANHATTAN (AP) — Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced Monday to 6½ years in prison in the corruption case that drove him from power.

The sentencing by U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni in Manhattan came after she insisted that the 76-year-old Democrat come to court in person, rather than appear remotely due to the coronavirus.

Mr. Silver must report to prison Aug. 26.

In a handwritten letter to the judge, Mr. Silver, who was one of New York’s most powerful politicians in his 21 years as Assembly speaker, had asked that he be spared a penalty that would cause him to die in prison.

Prosecutors had urged that he go to prison for seven years for bribery and extortion.

Mr. Silver was ousted as speaker in 2015 and convicted later that year, but appeals kept him out of jail. He was convicted in a scheme that involved favors and business traded between two real-estate developers and a law firm. Mr. Silver supported legislation that benefited the developers. The developers then referred certain tax business to a law firm that paid Mr. Silver fees.

In court Monday, Mr. Silver blamed his downfall on “improper, selfish” behavior. “I destroyed that legacy that I built over 35 years,” he said.

 

 

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