Defense lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have listed a virtual who's who of Albany politics, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, as potential witnesses or subjects of testimony at Silver's upcoming federal corruption trial.
Also included on a list of 62 names to ask prospective jurors if they knew are indicted Sen. Dean Skelos, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, lobbyists Pat Lynch and Brian Meara, and high-profile real estate figures such as Larry Silverstein, Leonard Litwin, Steve Spinola and Jack Rudin.
Silver is due to go to trial next month on charges that he did legislative favors for developers and a doctor to generate $4 million in referral fees from two law firms he was affiliated with.See alsoRead the complaint vs. SilverSee alsoEditorial: Reform Albany
In the new filings late Thursday, the defense asked Manhattan U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni to use an 18-page questionnaire to begin screening prospective jurors later this month, and to ask about their attitudes toward politicians, their familiarity with Silver and their exposure to pretrial publicity.
The government also filed proposed questions with Caproni, but it opposed a written questionnaire as too cumbersome, and held back its list of names of witnesses and those who might come up during the trial.
The defense list, however, provided a taste of how deeply testimony at the trial is likely to delve into some of the inner workings of the Capitol and its power structure.
In addition to big-name lobbyists and real estate moguls, it included current and former Assembly members, suchas Vito Lopez of Brooklyn, Herman "Denny" Farrell and Keith Wright of Manhattan, and Audrey Pheffer of Queens.
The government has yet to disclose its definitive list of planned witnesses to the defense, but in a new filing prosecutors told Caproni there was no urgency about providing it because many are "the defendant's friends and colleagues" who Silver already knows will be testifying.