Closing arguments were delivered Monday. in the federal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The case is expected to go to the jury Tuesday. Zack Fink filed the following report.
On Monday morning, prosecutors spent nearly three hours summing up the government's case against Sheldon Silver.
At one point, Prosecutor Andrew Goldstein said, "This case is about corruption, crimes committed by this man, Sheldon Silver," as he pointed to the defendant for the jury.
Prosecutors say Silver engaged in two corrupt schemes to monetize his public office and enrich himself to the tune of more than $4 million.
"They can find that he shouldn't have taken the money, it smells. I don't like the fact that an elected official has done this. But he didn't break the law, and that is going to be the issue for them," said Attorney Michael Bachner.
In the afternoon, it was the defense's turn. Silver Attorney Steven Molo said, "It is not enough to say Silver did these things. He needed to do these acts with corrupt intent."
Silver's attorneys opted not to call any witnesses, including the speaker himself.
"I'm always of the belief if you are a lawyer, and you are the Speaker of the house, people expect you to speak. But the jury is going to be told that they cannot confer anything negative from that, and they take that very seriously," Bachner said.
On Tuesday, the jury will be given instructions by the judge. Deliberations will begin immediately thereafter.
Regardless of what verdict they may deliver, observers say this trial has managed to expose a sleazy way business can be conducted in Albany.
"Everybody in Albany could have a no-show job and be servicing someone else, allegedly working for us," said Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance. "But I think if you are getting paid millions of dollars, you are not working for the people of New York, you are working for the people paying you millions of dollars."
Silver reiterated outside court Monday night that he has believed all along that he will be vindicated.
"I look forward to a verdict of not guilty," he said. I think my attorneys did a very good job."
One other development Monday that is worth noting is that juror 1, who was injured last week, has been replaced with an alternate. There are now four men and eight women deciding Sheldon Silver's fate.