Appeals court overturns conviction of Sheldon Silver

Sheldon Silver

Sheldon Silver

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit cited a Supreme Court ruling a year ago in a Virginia case that narrowed the definition of corruption by public officials.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver walks towards his vehicle after his arraignment in federal court on January 22, 2014.

A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned the corruption conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, saying the jury was improperly instructed on the law in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Silver was sentenced last May to 12 years, but had been allowed to stay out of prison while the case was on appeal.

The Second Circuit determined Thursday that any jury weighing the charges against Silver must be given guided on such instructions. Silver remained an Assembly member until the jury found him guilty.

Prosecutors say Silver pocketed almost $4 million dollars in payments in return for politcal favors.

A federal jury convicted Silver two years ago of accepting $5 million in bribes, by virtue of his ceremonial job at a law firm specializing in recovering damages for asbestos-related illnesses and his dealings with a real estate developer reliant on state funds for its business.

A spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan declined immediate comment.

According to the New York Times, the appellate court cited a Supreme Court ruling involving former Republican Governor Bob McConnell.

Additional details are available on the New York Times website.

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