US Supreme Court will review Sheldon Silver's corruption case

The saga of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continues to evolve now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review his corruption case. Zack Fink filed the following report.

Adding to an already complicated story, the U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing Sheldon Silver's corruption case. The former Assembly speaker was convicted of federal corruption in 2015, but last month the Second Circuit Court of appeals vacated the entire conviction.

The appeals court found that the jury intsructions were tainted since the prosecution was based on the Honest Services Statute, a law that the Supreme Court struck down in a separate case.

Federal prosecutors had moved to retry Silver, but no trial date has been set. 

With his future uncertain, Silver's legacy in Lower Manhattan remains very much in flux.

But while it's unclear how active in politics Silver has been in his old Assembly district on the Lower East Side, Judy Rapfogel, his former chief of staff, has been very active and is currently involved in the race for district leader.

District leader is an unpaid position, but Rapfogel is actively working to help the incumbents, including Karen Blatt, who is being challenged by Caroline Laskow.

"Judy Rapfogel was carrying around petitions to help get Truman Club candidates on the ballot and according to the Board of Elections was their top signature-getter," Laskow said.

Blatt doesn't deny Rapfogel's involvement, saying in a statement, "Judy Rapfogel is someone who cares deeply about my cmmunity and is a tireless volunteer and member of the Truman Club. She has personally helped tens of thousands of people on the LES and is an asset that any campaign would want to have on their side."

Rapfogel was considered Silver's enforcer and gatekeeper in Albany. Her husband, Willie Rapfogel, was convicted of stealing milions of dollars from a Jewish charity, and served nearly three years in prison.

"What we are trying to do is fight against the Truman Democratic Club, which is a machine that has been in power for 40-plus years. It is ostensibly controlled by Judy Rapfogel, Shelly's former chief of staff," said Lee Berman, a candidate for district leader.

Rapfogel also helped get Alice Cancel briefly elected to Silver's old seat in a special election. She later lost the primary to Yuh-Line Niou who currently holds the seat, and declined to comment on the district leader race.

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