New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was slapped with fraud and conspiracy charges on Thursday following a long anti-corruption probe for committing fraud and other criminal counts, according to the federal authorities.
Silver, one of the most powerful Democrats of New York for over two decades, has been under the scanner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
The 70-year-old leader was accused of attempting to hide “corrupt sources” of outside income and misusing his powers of office for obtaining millions in bribes and kickbacks.
As per the criminal complaint, Silver allegedly received over USD 6 million in unjustified income from two law companies since 2002.
Silver, who represents Lower East Side in Manhattan, is known as one of “Three Men in a Room” of Albany. The other two are the governor and Senate Majority Leader, who is the negotiator of key legislation and the state budget. Silver has been a key member in the Assembly since 1977.
A somber-looking Silver surrendered before the authorities at about 8 am EST on Thursday in lower Manhattan from where he was headed to a nearby federal court.
“It is unfortunate that the prosecutors chose to pursue this as a criminal case. We intend to vigorously contest the charges and Mr. Silver looks forward to his day in court,” Steven Molo, Silver’s attorney, said in an emailed statement.
If convicted, Silver can get a maximum jail term of 20 years on each of the charges, according to spokesperson for US Attorney Preet Bharara said.