ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Once the most powerful man in the New York Assembly, now he’s on trial — facing charges of corruption.
Jury selection begins in federal court in Manhattan today for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
The 71-year-old Democrat pleads not guilty to the three count indictment against him.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Silver used two different schemes to collect millions of dollars in illegal payments.
The first, they say, involved real estate developers. Prosecutors allege that Silver promised favorable outcomes for the business they had before the state if they used a particular law firm.
When they did, prosecutors say Silver would receive a secret referral fee from the firm.
The other involved asbestos litigation.
Authorities say Silver used his political power to steer state grants to a doctor, who in turn referred patients to a specific law firm.
Silver would get kickbacks from the firms and allegedly disguise the money as legitimate income as a private lawyer.
Prosecutors say this had been going on for years.
The tension and uncertainties that have built up here at the Capitol from all of this will unfold inside a federal courtroom Monday morning.