NEW YORK — Federal courtroom 318 was was packed on Tuesday for sentencing hearing that was unlike any other seen before in the city. A bigger room than the norm for the man who once again found himself as the biggest draw in the room, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Silver entered into Judge Valerie Caproni's courtroom with little enthusiasm. A criminal who had been exposed by the Feds, prosecutors wasted no time in branding Silver as a "liar" and asking the judge for "significant incarceration" to send the right message in their eyes.
Painting him as a "complicated and completely flawed character" as well as an elected official who exploited power by doing massive damage and harm to the public's trust in the system, Silver sat quietly displaying little emotion even when describe as the man who "corrupted the people's house."
Silver's defense team described their client's conviction as an "extraordinary fall from grace." Although they admitted he made mistakes, they also tried to say that he was a man who did many great things for New Yorkers.
Judge Caproni said during her statement most shocking too her is that in the years leading up to the arrest and convictions of numerous other politicians, it was business as usual for Silver.
Minutes later, she looked at the 72-year-old and sentenced him to 12 years, fined him $1.75 million dollars, ordered him to forfeit $5.3 million of crime proceeds and informed Silver that he must surrender to authorities by July 1st.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York released the following statement after the sentencing, "Today's stiff sentence is a just and fitting end to Sheldon Silver's long career of corruption."
A large media scrum is what Silver stepped into when he exited the federal courthouse.
The former speaker went silent, offering up nothing.