From left: Preet Bharara and Sheldon Silver
Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pleaded not guilty today to federal corruption charges as his lawyer accused U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of turning the public against him and undermining his right to a fair trial.
Silver stepped down from his post after he was arrested on Jan. 22 for allegedly reaping $4 million in kickbacks from law firm Goldberg & Iryami, including some stemming from referrals of real estate developers seeking tax abatements, Bloomberg News reported.
Steven Molo, Silver’s attorney, said that he will aim to have the charges tossed because of prejudicial statements made by Bharara to the press, in a speech and in a television interview before his indictment by a grand jury last week.
Silver faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. [Bloomberg News] — Tess Hofmann