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Assembly Democrats ask Silver to step down

ALBANY – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a fixture of power in Albany for a generation now embroiled in a corruption scandal, was asked by his colleagues Monday night to submit his resignation as leader of the Democrats who control the house.

After a five hour private meeting, Democrats emerged to send Silver, huddled down the hall in his Capitol office for most of the meeting, a message with two choices: resign immediately as Speaker or step aside and return if he is acquitted. No one believed, however, that once gone he could ever return.

Lawmakers said other possibilities could emerge Tuesday when Democrats return at noon to likely finalize their options for the Manhattan Democrat. It was also a likely scenario that Silver, facing the rejection of his rank-and-file colleagues, would submit his resignation sometime Monday night or early Tuesday.

“There was a consensus that he cannot remain as Speaker,’’ said one Democratic lawmaker after the meeting.

A clear replacement, or replacements, was not settled on during the meeting, as several options fell off the table.