NEW YORK (NEWS10) – Two of the three men in a room were convicted on corruption scandals, but they won’t see the inside of a jail cell any time soon.
Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos are home free pending appeal. Judges in both cases ruled the convicted criminals can remain free because they may have grounds to win an appeal.
Silver’s lawyers say a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer improves his chances on appeal. It reversed the public corruption conviction of former Virginia Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell.
The 72-year-old Democrat would have been heading to prison next week. Ex-Senate Leader Skelos and his son Adam also remain out of prison.
Local attorney Arnold Proskin said bail pending appeal is common.
“It’s really the judge makes a determination of the risk of the person taking off and not showing up again,” he said.
The reverse ruling in McDonnell’s case narrows the definition of bribery by public officials.
“Just like it did with Joe Bruno, basically the same thing,” Proskin explained. “The Supreme Court said the actions that they’re talking about – this is a different case but parallel actions – were not criminal.”
It has given hope to two of New York’s former most powerful politicians.
“The appeals court will then make a determination, see what the trial was, see what they had there, and make a determination if trial was appropriate,” Proskin said. “What can happen, of course. They can say no; do a new trial.”
Silver is appealing a 12-year prison sentence for a $5 million corruption scandal. Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Both men are free for a couple months pending their appeals.
A Manhattan federal judge said Silver can remain free until at least Oct. 27 or until two weeks after a court rules on his request to remain free for the length of any appeal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.