A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced former New York State Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, 72, to 12 years in imprisonment in addition to fines totalling $1.75 million for corruption.
According to the New York Times, the judge, Valerie Caproni, in sentencing Silver, said at first that the many letters written on his behalf demonstrated that he went “above and beyond the call of duty many times”.
Caproni outlined why she thought Silver deserved a serious sentence, saying it was “certainly one that went far beyond the community service his lawyers had requested”.
She said that there had been an “incalculable harm to the people of New York,” and that the cumulative effect of public corruption “makes the public very cynical”.
Caproni, who listed some of Silver’s misdeeds, said: “Silver, those are not the actions of an honest person”.
She expressed the hope that Silver’s sentence would serve as a deterrent to politicians and generate a “fear of living out his golden years in an orange jumpsuit”.
Just before the imposition of the sentence, Silver, appearing emotionless, made s brief statement.
“I let down my family, I let down my colleagues, I let down my constituents. I am truly, truly sorry for that.”
Silver, who served 38 years in the Assembly and was speaker from 1994 to 2015, was arrested on January 22nd 2015, and submitted his resignation as speaker eight days later.
Prosecutors said Silver accepted $4 million dollars in illegal payments from a real estate developer and a medical researcher.
They also alleged that he helped two mistresses, a former assemblywoman from Staten Island and a lobbyist, find work.
Upon his conviction, he forfeited his Assembly seat.
Two weeks later, Dean Skelos, who as majority leader had been Silver’s Republican counterpart in the State Senate, was also convicted of corruption. Skelos is to be sentenced on May 12th.
On May 19th, John Sampson, a former leader of the Senate Democrats, will face his own sentencing.