Lawyers for former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver say that they will appeal his conviction on charges of trading favors to earn $5 million.
Legal experts say that there was “no smoking gun,” as there was no single witness or document that proved that he committed a crime. Rather, they say it was an accumulation of circumstantial evidence that convinced the jury to find him guilty.
Albany Law School Professor Vincent Bonventre says prosecutors didn’t necessarily prove that Silver broke the law, but nonetheless managed to sway the jury.
The Manhattan federal court jury returned the verdict Monday after a three-week trial in which prosecutors claimed that the 71-year-old Democrat repeatedly promised the favors so he could enrich himself. The defense countered that the government was trying to criminalize the longtime routines of politics in Albany.
Silver’s lawyer, Steven Molo, said his client was disappointed and intended to appeal.
“There was no quid quo pro. He did not sell his office,” Molo said.