The conviction of Sheldon Silver is a big win for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara who is taking on some of the most powerful politicians in Albany. Now some are speculating that the guilty verdict means there may be more to come, as Grace Rauh reports.
Former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is guilty on all seven counts against him. The man who brought the case, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, appeared in the courtroom to hear the verdict for himself. Yet after one of the biggest cases of his career, he steered clear of the cameras, issuing only a brief statement.
“Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.”
A few hours later, on his way into an awards ceremony where he was to be honored, Bharara refused to add to his earlier response.
"I don't have a comment," Bharara said. "I made my statement already."
Silver's corruption trial is part of Bharara's larger effort to clean up Albany. It was clear throughout it was not just Silver on trial in Lower Manhattan, but the entire political system in the state Capital.
"The problem of corruption in New York is systemic, not merely episodic," Bharara said in April.
The U.S. Attorney has questioned the way business is done in Albany — a handful of officials making all the decisions behind closed doors.
"The concept of three men in a room seems to have disappointingly taken root as opposed to being questioned," the prosecutor said in January. "It's almost become part of the furniture."
Of course with this conviction the inevitable question now floating around political circles is who in Albany may be next.
When Governor Cuomo abruptly shut down a commission he created to investigate corruption in the capital last year, Bharara seemed to pick up where the commission had left off. Some have questioned whether the Governor himself might be in the U.S. Attorney's cross-hairs.
"By now, I think people are familiar with our record on public corruption, which record is not yet complete," Bharara said in April.
Bharara's has little time to catch his breath. A separate corruption case against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is still underway. The man who was once the most powerful Republican in New York is fighting charges brought by — you guessed it — Preet Bharara.