Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was not included in a raft of pardons issued by President Donald Trump in his final day in office.
The New York Times previously reported this week Silver was under consideration by Trump to be pardoned, which would have erased his conviction on fraud charges. But the news prompted a flood of criticism over pardoning the Manhattan Democrat by the president's New York Republican allies.
Silver is currently serving a 6-1/2 year prison sentence in Otisville. Trump's pardon would have meant Silver becoming a free man five years after he was first arrested on charges of fraud and bribery.
The pardoning of Silver would have come over the objections of the president's Republican supporters in New York, including the state GOP committee. Republicans have long held an antagonistic view of Silver, a Manhattan lawmaker who dominated the state Assembly as its virtually unquestioned leader for 21 years.
The New York Times reported Monday evening Silver was under consideration for the pardon by Trump. A former aide to Silver previously worked for the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Trump did ultimately pardon a range of individuals, including rapper L'il Wayne and his former advisor Steve Bannon.
"President Donald Trump started his administration with unethical behavior and he will end it no differently," said New York Attorney General Letitia James. "The 143 pardons and commutations, issued in the twilight hours of the Trump Administration, perfectly sum up what this lame-duck president has always been about: favoritism towards those who show absolute loyalty to Donald Trump. At noon today, the Trump presidency and this national nightmare will finally be over."
Silver was arrested in 2015, charged with receiving bribes masked as legal fees. Federal prosecutors charged Silver with receiving payments from a law firm that sought special reductions in New York City real estate, which were not revealed on his annual financial disclosure.
The case was the first of two blockbuster corruption arrests that shook the state Capitol. Five months after Silver's arrest, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos would also be charged with corruption.
Both cases brought then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to prominence. Bharara would later be fired by Trump after the 2016 election.
Silver relinquished his speaker role and remained a rank-and-file lawmaker until his initial conviction that November, automatically ejecting him from elected office.
But Silver amounted an appeal, based in part on the Supreme Court's ruling in Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's case. The conviction was overturned, but the federal government sought a second trial and secured another conviction in May 2018.
Silver remained free on bond for two years and, with his final appeals exhausted, reported to federal prison in August 2020.