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Sheldon Silver wins delay in retrial on corruption charges

ALBANY – The retrial of  Sheldon Silver will not take place anytime soon.

A federal appeals panel has agreed to first let the former Assembly Speaker take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court before scheduling a retrial of his corruption case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit tossed out Silver’s 2015 conviction last month on charges that he used his assembly post to enrich himself by obtaining illegal payments from two entities he helped steer state funds into. Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but was allowed to remain free during the appeals process.

When the appeals court overturned Silver's corruption conviction, it said that many people would view the facts that came out in the case “with distaste," but the instructions to the jury did not track with the U.S. Supreme Court 's decision in 2016 in a corruption case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. The convictions of the governor and his wife were overturned by the high court, which significantly narrowed the definition of official acts of misconduct.

The appeals court in the Silver case ordered the case be referred to the lower court again for a new trial.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Joon Kim had opposed delaying a second trial for Silver until his case is considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Government intends to retry the defendant and believes it is in the public interest for that re-trial to occur promptly,’’ Kim recently wrote to the lower court judge.

As Sheldon Silver meets his fate in a Manhattan courtroom, Albany searches its soul

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