N.Y. Politician Sheldon Silver Indicted on 5 Counts of Corruption
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been indicted on five criminal counts involving millions of dollars in alleged bribes and kickbacks.
The criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court accuses Silver, 70, of receiving more than $6 million from two law firms since 2002 through various schemes, reports the New York Daily News. The money allegedly includes more than $3 million in referral fees for directing clients involved in asbestos litigation to one of the law firms.
According to prosecutors, Silver directed state funds to a doctor doing asbestos research in exchange for referrals from this doctor of asbestos cases to the law firm.
Charges Include Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, Extortion
Silver is charged with five violations of federal law. These charges include:
- Wire fraud. Silver is charged with devising "a scheme and artifice to defraud and deprive the public of its intangible right" to his services as an elected legislator and transmitting it by means of wire, radio or television communication.
- Mail fraud. Silver is also accused of using the mail to execute his fraudulent scheme.
- Extortion. The complaint also charges Silver with extortion for obtaining of property from another by consent induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.
Silver surrendered to federal law enforcement agents Thursday morning and was arraigned Thursday afternoon in New York.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Silver's lawyers told reporters that "Mr. Silver looks forward to responding to [the charges] -- in court -- and ultimately his full exoneration."