Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty (again) on all seven counts in his corruption retrial Friday.
Silver was accused of collecting back-door attorney fees in exchange for favors from Albany.
"Today justice was served on behalf of taxpayers. But this latest conviction must also be met with action in Albany. If we are going to protect our democracy and restore the trust of New Yorkers, we must fight for good government in Albany, not just the courts," former federal prosecutor, Senator Todd Kaminsky, said of the guilty verdict.
A prosecutor cited a "mountain of evidence" against New York's former assembly speaker and called for the guilty verdict Thursday while a defense attorney said his client committed no crime.
The lawyers made their closing arguments in Sheldon Silver's second trial, and jurors deliberated less than an hour over his mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion charges.
The 74-year-old once-powerful Democrat did not testify in a trial that was surprisingly fast, with 26 witnesses and a slew of exhibits dispensed in less than two weeks - twice as fast as expected.
Still, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tatiana Martins said the jury could rely on a "mountain of evidence in this case" that Silver earned $5 million illegally to reach the same conclusion as a jury in 2015. Guilty.
Defense attorney Michael Feldberg disagreed.
The 2015 verdict and the 12-year prison sentence that followed were tossed out last year when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that a June 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the definition of a corrupt act meant the jury at Silver's first trial was not properly instructed on the law.
After the lawyers finished their arguments Thursday, U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni read to jurors the law they must follow in their deliberations.
Attorney Michael Feldberg said money Silver received as legal fees for work on behalf of asbestos victims and real estate developers was "perfectly legal."
He said the fees were "common, standard and accepted" and his client disclosed publicly exactly what the law required.
Martins said Silver earned $4 million in legal fees and another million dollars by investing the "dirty money."
She said the extortion charges lodged against Silver resulted from "a different kind of extortion" in which Silver used the power of his position to force others to enrich him.
Martins said he went to great lengths to cover up his crimes, including putting more than $400,000 in his wife's name so it would not be reported publicly. She said he repeatedly lied to the press and public.
"His corruption, his extortion and his lies would be exposed in this courtroom," the prosecutor said.
Silver was first elected to the Assembly in 1976. He eventually became one of the three most powerful politicians in the state, playing a pivotal role in deciding what legislation made it to a vote.