NEW YORK >> The corruption conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was overturned Thursday by a federal appeals court that cited a recent Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the definition of what it takes to convict a public official. Prosecutors vowed to retry Silver.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it could not conclude that a rational jury would have convicted the Democrat if it had been properly instructed on what constitutes an “official act.”
Still, the court gave prosecutors plenty of room to think a retrial has merit, and acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim quickly issued a statement saying the government would seek one.
“We recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver’s trial with distaste,” the 2nd Circuit said. “The question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the government. Rather, it is whether it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury, properly instructed, would have found Silver guilty.”
In seeking a retrial, Kim said prosecutors were disappointed by the appeals decision.
“We respect it, and look forward to retrying the case,” Kim wrote. “Although this decision puts on hold the justice that New Yorkers got upon Silver’s conviction, we look forward to presenting to another jury the evidence of decades-long corruption by one of the most powerful politicians in New York State history. Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied.”
Silver was sentenced…
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