Wall Street Journal:
Sheldon Silver’s conviction Monday in one of New York’s highest-profile public-corruption cases in decades could signal a shift in the business of Albany and spark further investigations of a capital with a long-standing reputation for questionable conduct.
The Democratic speaker of the state Assembly for more than 20 years, Mr. Silver was found guilty by a 12-person federal jury in Manhattan of four counts of honest-services fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of money laundering.
At the heart of the case was the question of whether procedures and conduct that are commonplace to Albany are, in fact, a violation of the law, or whether they are simply the perhaps objectionable but also unavoidable consequence of having a part-time Legislature.
As one of Mr. Silver’s defense attorneys, Justin Shur, put it during proceedings: “Throughout this trial, the government has pointed to things that have gone on in Albany which [are] standard practices in terms of how grants are reviewed, in terms of how member items are allocated, and suggested that they’re improper.”
The jury decided those actions and others taken by Mr. Silver were illegal, bringing an end to his lengthy political career.
Albany, roiled by Mr. Silver’s arrest in January, now faces a crisis of conscience on whether and how to respond to the conviction of someone who dominated state politics as long as most legislators or anyone in New York’s political orbit can remember.