Unfazed by criminal charges leveled against him on Thursday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he was confident that he will be cleared of wrongdoing.
The 70-year-old Democrat turned himself at FBI headquarters in New York City on Thursday morning and was charged with federal conspiracy and bribery charges. If convicted, he could face a lengthy prison term and lose his political seat. He was released on $200,000 bail.
“I’m confident that after a full hearing and due process I’ll be vindicated on the charges,” said Silver, who seemed unfazed in court, even pausing on his way out to sign a sketch artist’s rendering of the scene. He did not enter a plea.
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said Silver still has the backing of an overwhelming number of the chamber’s Democrats, and they are not seeking his resignation as speaker.
“We believe he can carry out his duties as speaker,” Morelle said. “We’re going to stand with him. … We have faith in the speaker.”
Speaking to reports at City Hall, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio rejected calls for Silver to step down.
“Although the charges announced today are certainly very serious, I want to note that I’ve always known Shelly Silver to be a man of integrity, and he certainly has due process rights. And I think it’s important that we let the judicial process play out here,” De Blasio said.