Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to six and a half years in prison Monday for a bribery and corruption scheme that was the subject of a years-long legal saga.
Silver had thus far managed to remain out of prison since his original conviction in 2015, which was overturned on appeal after the Supreme Court, in a separate case, narrowed the legal definition of public corruption.
He was re-tried, re-convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in 2018, but some of those charges were overturned by an appeals court in January.
“It has been a long time coming,” Judge Valerie Caproni said in re-sentencing the 76-year-old Silver. While taking his age into account, she dismissed Silver’s concerns about contracting COVID-19 in prison, suggesting the federal government had done a reasonably good job managing the crisis.
“Twice convicted by unanimous juries for abusing his powerful state office to enrich himself, Sheldon Silver will now finally report to prison to begin serving a sentence that can begin to repair the harm his conduct caused to the people of this District and to their trust in local government," said Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in a statment.
In addressing the court, Silver expressed remorse. “I want to be clear: What I did was wrong,” he said. “Let me just say I am very sorry.”
Outside court after sentencing, he did not respond to reporters’ questions.
In addition to prison time, Silver must pay a $1 million fine. He is due to surrender by August 26.