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BY COLIN MIXSON
The nation’s highest court has scuttled disgraced pol Sheldon Silver’s bid to dodge a second jury trial on corruption charges stemming from his alleged $4 million quid-pro-quo scheme.
The former Assembly Speaker had hoped that the US Supreme Court would abet his legal scheme to avoid a second trial after a lower court upheld his appeal on a technicality, but the lofty legal body gave notice Jan. 16 that they wouldn’t hear Silver’s case.
The 73-year-old Silver, who once represented Lower Manhattan as one of the three most powerful politicians in New York State — the so-called “three men in a room” — was convicted in 2015 on corruption charges stemming from various schemes, including directing state research funds to a mesothelioma doctor in exchange for referring patients to his legal firm, and referring real-estate firms with business before the Assembly to another law office for a fee.
But Shelly’s fortunes turned after an appeals court ruled that his prosecutors had not properly instructed jurors on the definition of an “official act,” following a US Supreme Court verdict narrowing the definition of the term after overturning a similar conviction in the case of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.
That appeals court did not, however, rule that state prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to bag a guilty verdict, ultimately leaving Shelly open to retrial, which has been tentatively set to April 16.