Lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver moved to dismiss his Manhattan federal court indictment on Thursday, claiming that because of technical legal defects, it failed to allege a real crime.

Silver was charged in January with corruptly steering real estate legislation and medical research funds in return for legal referral fees from property tax abatement cases and asbestos litigation.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

But his lawyers argue that because it wasn't a simple bribery scheme in which he got money from a victim who was extorted, what the government alleged was "mere conflicts of interest or self-dealing" -- not a crime under federal law.

Silver, 71, resigned from his post as speaker after the charges, but continues to represent his Manhattan district.