Judge denies ex-NY Assembly speaker bail pending appeal

NEW YORK (AP) — Ex-New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver must report to prison as scheduled next month after a judge Monday denied bail pending the appeal of his corruption conviction and seven-year prison term.

U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni said in a written opinion that the substance of 74-year-old Sheldon Silver’s appeal lacks merit.

“The true purpose of Silver’s appeal is simply to postpone his day of reckoning,” she said.

Caproni said Silver, a Democrat, had not raised a substantial question likely to result in a reversal of the jury’s verdict or a new trial.

She did, however, ease the conditions under which Silver must pay a $1.75 million fine. Silver had complained that he was being forced to sell two residences and liquidate his retirement account, incurring substantial tax liability.

Now, Silver will be permitted to pay $750,000 rather than $1.2 million by Friday. After that, he will be required to make monthly payments of not less than $10,000 until after his appeal is resolved. If his conviction is affirmed, the remaining balance will be due within a month.

Silver’s attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

Silver was ordered to report to prison Oct. 5 at his July sentencing. A jury this spring convicted him of taking nearly $4 million in return for legislative favors that he performed for a cancer researcher and real estate developers. Prosecutors said he earned another $1 million by investing the money.

First elected in 1976, Silver served as speaker for 21 years, resigning after his 2015 arrest from a seat that served lower Manhattan.

Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison after his first conviction in 2015. That conviction was overturned after the U.S. Supreme Court redefined the boundaries of public corruption in a ruling that reversed the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

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