Manhattan federal prosecutors have asked a judge to schedule a retrial of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges for the spring of 2018, a request that could lead to three back-to-back-to-back Albany corruption trials next year.
The government’s letter to U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni came one day after Silver won a delay in his case while he asks the Supreme Court to bar any retrial. Prosecutors said reserving time for a monthlong trial in March, April or May will save time if Silver fails in his quest.
Caproni, who has already scheduled the state corruption trials of former gubernatorial aide Joseph Percoco for January and of former SUNY Polytechnic president Alan Kaloyeros for June, told the two sides in the Silver case to tell her next week their open dates from March to August of 2018.
Silver’s conviction for doing legislative favors in return for legal referral fees and 12-year prison sentence was reversed because of incorrect jury instructions, but prosecutors from the office of acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim told the judge it is in the “public interest” to retry him quickly.
Silver’s lawyers didn’t comment on the request, or the judge’s order.
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned his conviction last month because Caproni did not correctly describe the type of “official act” Silver had to perform to be guilty in a bribery scheme, but it said there was sufficient evidence for a properly instructed jury to convict.
Silver contends there was insufficient evidence, and intends to ask the Supreme Court to review that part of the ruling. If the high court were to agree, it would prohibit any retrial.
He asked the Second Circuit to hold its decision in abeyance — and deprive Caproni of the ability to begin a second trial — until he has time to petition the Supreme Court. The Second Circuit agreed, over government objections.
Silver has 90 days from the date of the appeals ruling last month to file his request for the Supreme Court to intervene. Once filed, it would be up to the Supreme Court to decide when to act on the request.