FILE – In this May 3, 2016 file photo, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is surrounded by media as he leaves the court in New York where he was sentenced to 12 years in prison on corruption charges. On Thursday, July 13, 2017, a federal appeals court overturned Silver’s corruption conviction, saying the judge’s instructions on law weren’t consistent with a recent Supreme Court ruling. (Seth Wenig, File/Associated Press)
NEW YORK — The corruption conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was overturned Thursday by a federal appeals court that found sufficient evidence but flawed jury instructions in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling narrowing the definition of what it takes to convict a public official. Prosecutors vowed to retry him.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it could not conclude with certainty that a rational jury would have convicted the Democrat if it had been properly instructed on what constitutes an “official act.”
“We recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver’s trial with distaste,” the 2nd Circuit said. “The question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the government. Rather, it is whether it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury, properly instructed, would have found Silver guilty.”
Still, the court gave prosecutors encouragement that a retrial has merit, and acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said the government will seek one.
“Although this decision puts on hold the justice that New Yorkers got upon Silver’s conviction, we look forward to presenting to another jury the evidence of decades-long corruption by one of the most powerful politicians in New York State history,” Kim wrote.
Silver was sentenced last year to…