Sheldon Silver pleads not guilty to federal corruption charges

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges on Tuesday.

Silver appeared in a Manhattan federal court to answer to a three-count indictment. He once again maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty.

Silver was one of the most powerful democrats in the state for nearly two decades when he was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday. He was arrested in January on corruption charges.

The assemblyman is accused of using the power of his position to make himself nearly $4 million. He is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion. The indictment lays out two separate schemes: It alleges he used his position to elicit payments and kickbacks from real estate developers and to get referrals from a personal injury law firm.

It was revealed in court that Silver’s attorneys are filing a motion to have the case dismissed. They said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tainted the grand jury by making public comments about Silver and his alleged actions.

Following his arrest, Silver resigned as Speaker but remained an assemblyman. He did not say much as he exited court and got into a vehicle.

The defense said it will file a second motion if the case is not thrown out. A possible trial could last a month and take place late in the summer or late fall.

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