In an only-in-Albany moment, Brian Meara, a veteran lobbyist and longtime friend of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was publicly revealed to be cooperating in Bharara’s case against the speaker a day after his nephew, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein of Queens, attended a news conference of Assembly Democrats supporting Silver.
Braunstein attended a nearly two-hour meeting of Assembly Democratic members hours after Silver's arrest. Afterward, several dozen of Silver's members came out for a press conference to say they support keeping Silver as speaker.
That widespread support began to erode over the weekend, leading to Silver to cut a deal in which he will turn over control for now of the chamber to five veteran Assembly members as he fights the criminal charges against him.
Meanwhile, Meara, who has been close with Silver for four decades, is cooperating with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's case against Silver.has been cooperating as a “fact witness” as part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation, sources told The News.