ALBANY, N.Y. – A Grand Jury has officially indicted former Speaker Sheldon Silver on three charges.
[Read the full indictment here: Silver Indictment Document]
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver submitted a letter of resignation in late January after he was arrested on five federal corruption charges. Democrat Carl Heastie was voted into the open position.
Silver has been accused of using his position to make himself millions. He held the position of Assembly Speaker since 1994.
In the indictment released Thursday, he is accused of Honest Services Mail Fraud, Honest Services Wire Fraud and Extortion Under the Color of Official Right.
The indictment states that Silver reported on his financial disclosure forms required by law, that he did received income from the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., but did not identify receiving income from any other law firm.
He claimed that his private legal work consisted of spending several hours each week evaluating legal matters brought to him by potential clients and then referring cases that appeared to have merit to attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg.
The forms disclosed that potential clients found him by virtue of his being a “lawyer for more than 40 years.” Silver alleged that his outside legal work was not connected to his official position or to State government, and that none of his clients had any business before the state.
But the indictment against him claims that Silver obtained millions in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income earned as a private lawyer.
It’s alleged that he obtain nearly $4 million in corrupt payments through two law firms. About $700,000 came from in bribes and kickbacks from a real estate law firm that was controlled by an attorney who previously worked as Silver’s council in the Assembly. He earned an additional $3 million in payments from Weitz & Luxenberg that he allegedly obtained after securing referrals of cases from an asbestos doctor.
The indictment claimed Silver used his position to prevent investigators from discovering the scheme, notably seeking to prevent the disclosure of information about outside income to the Moreland Commission, created by the governor to investigate corruption in the state government.