Sheldon Silver, the former powerful Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, was found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday, less than a year after his first conviction on the same charges was thrown out….
Mr. Silver’s retrial was widely watched as a test of the government’s ability to prosecute official corruption under the narrower definition. But from the outset, prosecutors this time seemed to hold an upper hand: The original verdict was only thrown out because the judge’s jury instructions were too broad, as defined by the Supreme Court decision.
The retrial in Federal District Court in Manhattan seemed to move at double speed: Instead of stretching over one month, as the first trial had, the second trial was completed in two weeks, as prosecutors quickly made their case that Mr. Silver, 74, had obtained the illicit payments. In return, prosecutors said, Mr. Silver took a series of official actions that benefited a cancer researcher at Columbia University and two real estate developers in New York.