Former New York Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver was today found guilty on all seven federal counts of extortion, money laundering, and influence peddling. Among the charges were that Silver received millions of dollars in referral fees after pushing state grants for a cancer researcher who then sent mesothelioma patients to Silver’s ambulance-chasing law firm, which airs incessant television commercials offering to represent New Yorkers exposed to asbestos.
First elected 39 years ago, Silver, who was known for wielding his Assembly position with an “iron grip,” resigned from the leadership in January upon his arrest, but remained an Assembly member. He is the latest in a long, long line of New York state Democrats to have been convicted of felonies in the last several years. The charges in those cases have included corruption, fraud, embezzlement, and domestic abuse.