"Given the teachings of the Supreme Court in McDonnell, and the particular circumstances of this case, we simply can not reach that conclusion".
"While the facts of Skelos, Silver and McDonnell really have nearly nothing to do with each other, the legal question is common to all", said Kuby, who did not work on the case but is familiar with it. On May 3, 2016, federal judge Valerie E. Caproni of the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY sentenced Silver to 12 years in jail, and ordered him to pay $5.3 million in ill-gotten gains and $1.75 million in additional fines.
Former Speaker Silver is not the first legislative leader to see his corruption conviction overturned on appeal. The McDonnell decision narrowed the definition of what official conduct can result in a corruption prosecution, according to the newspaper. They were told such an act could be "any action taken or to be taken under color of official authority". "Silver's defense attorneys argued that this obvious corruption was simply business as usual in Albany, which the Supreme Court confirmed in McDonnell-defying the common sense of two NY juries and honest people everywhere", she said in a statement.
In that case, the justices explained that illicit payments must result in a formal exercise of power in a pending matter or proceeding in order to be considered an "official act" within the meaning of the anti-corruption statutes. It's not that Silver isn't a crook, it's that the rules regarding jury instructions had changed. Prosecutors decided not to try that case last September. Activity that might be uncouth - like brokering meetings for wealthy benefactors - is now legal. The U.S. Attorney's Office under Preet Bharara's leadership won its case, and we have every expectation that the people can win again at retrial. "Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied".
"We are grateful the court saw it our way and reversed the conviction on all counts", Silver's attorneys said.
The Silver ruling will not affect the federal corruption trials later this year of nine former associates of Governor Andrew Cuomo, including Cuomo's former top aide, on bribery and bid rigging, because those trials will take place after the Supreme Court's McDonnell ruling.
Federal prosecutors said the evidence is strong enough to convict Silver regardless of the definition, and they intend to prove it.