Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption arrest stuns Capitol
ust as the legislative session was slated to start in earnest, Silver’s arrest in Manhattan on a five-count complaint put state business on hold, and it led to questions about how the Legislature would function under the cloud of Silver’s arrest.
Federal prosecutors charged that Silver, 70, the speaker since 1994, was in a scheme since at least 2000 to defraud the public and use his power to obtain at least $6 million in income from two outside law firms. Prosecutors said about $4 million of that came in kickbacks from real estate developers and referrals in asbestos cases in New York City. Silver was taken into custody shortly before 8 a.m. In the afternoon, he was released on $200,000 bail. Amid a swarm of reporters, Silver said, “I am confident that when all the issues are aired I will be vindicated.