Lawyers for Sheldon Silver were back in federal court Thursday, arguing to dismiss all of the federal corruption charges against the former Assembly speaker. Zack Fink filed the following report.
Although there was no trial in federal court Thursday, lawyers for both sides in Sheldon Silver's trial made arguments before the judge without the presence of the jury.
Defense attorneys have filed a motion to acquit, claiming the government did not present enough evidence of guilt to allow any of the seven counts to even be considered by the jury.
During arguments, Defenes Attorney Steve Molo said, "This is a thin case, and it did not go the way prosecutors thought it was going to go."
At issue is whether Silver illegally steered state grants to Dr. Robert Taub for cancer research in exchange for cancer patients, who Silver passed on to a law firm in exchange for fees. The government maintains this was an illegal quid-pro-quo.
According to the defense, Taub specifically refuted that he was aware of any such arrangement during testimony, and patient referrals to Silver continued long after the grant money ran out.
Silver's lawyers also claimed there wasn't enough evidence to even consider charges related to a second alleged scheme, in which Silver steered a real estate company to a friend's law firm, also in exchange for fees, Defense attorneys say the parties involved had no idea Silver was even collecting the money.
The judge did not seem persuaded by the defense's position. At one point, Molo said Silver "acted respsonsibly on grants," to which Judge Vaerlie Caproni responded simply, "Oh, please."
The judge also said of Silver, "He is not a champion of transparency in Albany. He did it when he had a gun to his head."
There is no court again on Friday, which means closing arguments are scheduled to begin first thing Monday Morning.