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Sheldon Silver intervened to block clinic as favor to developer, prosecutors allege in filing

Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,

Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, right, exits Federal Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Credit: Charles Eckert

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver intervened with state agencies to block a Manhattan substance abuse clinic as a favor to a powerful developer that owned a nearby building and was helping Silver generate legal fees for himself, federal prosecutors allege in a new court filing.

The government said it wants to put in evidence on the clinic at Silver's upcoming corruption trial as one of an array of favors he did for the developer -- identified as Glenwood Management Corp. -- from supporting tax breaks to college references for the owner's relatives.

"After it was announced that the clinic would not open . . . a lobbyist for . . . [Glenwood] drafted a letter to the building's residents . . . noting that Silver 'sprung into action as soon as it was revealed that this application was pending,' " prosecutors wrote.

Disclosure of Silver's alleged efforts to kill the clinic came in a series of defense and prosecution motions to allow or bar evidence on Albany corruption and other matters that were filed Friday night in Manhattan with U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, who will preside over Silver's November trial on fraud and extortion charges.

He is accused of receiving $4 million in fees from law firms that were generated by developers and by a doctor whom he used his legislative clout to help. Silver, 71, stepped down as speaker but continues to represent his Manhattan district.

One defense motion filed Friday attached a letter from prosecutors about other evidence in the case that included a reference confirming long-standing reports of complaints about interference by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo from leaders of the now-defunct Moreland Commission that was looking into legislators' outside income.

The letter, in a paragraph unrelated to the motion, said Moreland members, including co-chairwoman Kathleen Rice, now a Long Island congresswoman, said in interviews that Cuomo and his staff were "intervening" in a way that "led them to question the independence" of the commission.

Those allegations were widespread after Cuomo and the legislature agreed in early 2014 to disband the commission, triggering corruption probes by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that have snared both Silver and former State Senate leader Dean Skelos.

The paragraph about Cuomo contained no details. Cuomo has denied doing anything inappropriate.

Silver's indictment includes allegations that he tried to undercut the Moreland Commission to keep the truth about his law firm income secret. Friday's filings contained no indication on whether either side plans to introduce evidence about Cuomo.

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