By Nate Raymond and Joseph Ax
NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Sheldon Silver, one of New York’s most powerful politicians for two decades, was convicted on Monday of abusing his office to collect as much as $4 million in illegal bribes and kickbacks.
A federal jury in Manhattan found Silver, 71, guilty of fraud, extortion and money laundering charges following a three-week trial.
The verdict caps a stunning fall for Silver, who as speaker of the state Assembly enjoyed immense political influence before his arrest in January.
He was one of the so-called “three men in a room,” together with the governor and the state Senate majority leader, who under the state’s governance system control virtually all legislation.
The conviction comes as the former Senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, faces his own corruption trial in the same federal court in Manhattan.
Both men resigned their leadership posts after their arrests but continue to work as lawmakers representing Manhattan’s East Side and Long Island, respectively.
Silver’s conviction also represents a major victory for Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, whose office brought both the Silver and Skelos cases amid a broader probe into Albany corruption.
“Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York,” Bharara, who was in court to hear the verdict, said in a statement. (Editing by Jonathan Oatis)