Openings likely Tuesday in trial of assemblyman Sheldon Silver

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NEW YORK — Opening statements in the corruption trial of a former New York Assembly speaker appear likely to start Tuesday after a judge questioned individual jurors into the evening.

Federal Judge Valerie Caproni questioned several dozen prospective jurors individually Monday to identify biases that could contaminate Sheldon Silver’s trial.

The 71-year-old Manhattan Democrat was arrested in January on charges he took nearly $4 million in kickbacks.

In court, Silver wore a dark suit with pinstripes. He says he will be vindicated. His lawyers say federal prosecutors are unfairly going after him for practices that have long been sanctioned in Albany.

Silver stepped down from his speaker post after his arrest but retained his Assembly seat. The charges he faces carry a potential penalty of 130 years in prison.

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