Manhattan federal prosecutors Friday mocked former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's claim that corruption charges against him do not involve criminal conduct and urged a judge to reject the political power broker's bid to have the case dismissed.
Silver was accused in January of doing favors for a doctor and real estate developer to generate business for a law firm that paid him referral fees, but has claimed that the schemes weren't a federal crime because New York legislators are allowed to make outside income, and his benefits were indirect.
"Bribes, kickbacks and extortion are just as illegal in New York as they are in every other state ... whether or not the money is passed to Silver as cash in a suitcase or conveniently disguised as a lawyer's referral fee," prosecutors responded Friday.See alsoRead the complaint vs. SilverStorySilver goes from speaker to back rowEditorialEditorial: Obviously Albany needs ethics reform
Silver, 71, resigned as speaker but continues to represent his Manhattan Assembly district.
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni has not signaled when she will rule on the motion to dismiss.