Government Accuses Silver of Extramarital Affairs With Lobbyist, Job Seeker by Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal
A prosecution document unsealed this morning alleges that former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had two extramarital affairs, one with a lobbyist who frequently did business with the now-convicted Democratic leader and a second [believed to be former Assemblywoman Janelle Hyer-Spencer (D-SI/Bklyn)] he helped get a job with the state.
In the unsealed motion, which is heavily redacted and does not include that names of the women, the government cited “credible and corroborated evidence that while serving as Speaker of the Assembly, the defendant engaged in extramarital relationships with two women, one of whom….lobbied the defendant on a regular basis on behalf of clients who did business with the State, and the other….for whom the defendant used his official position to recommend for job with a State….over which he exercised a particularly high level of control.”
The pretrial motion in limine was submitted to the court on Oct. 12 by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carrie Cohen, Howard Master, Andrew Goldstein and James McDonald. It was unsealed on the order of Southern District Judge Valerie Caproni.
Caproni rejected the prosecutors’ motion to use the information at trial but kept it sealed for possible use as relevant to sentencing should Silver be convicted.
Defense lawyer Steven Molo, for Silver, and attorney Abbe Lowell of Chadbourne & Park, representing one of the women, fought hard, but failed to convince Caproni at a Thursday hearing that the documents should be kept sealed.
Molo said the information was far too broad and generalized, and far too remote in time to be considered a factor by the judge when Silver is sentenced on May 3. Lowell said the identity of his client, who Caproni said was a public figure, was irrelevant to the task of sentencing the former speaker.
Caproni said she would run afoul of the First Amendment by keeping secret information relevant to her decision on a prison term for Silver.
The government asked in its October motion to be able to use the information if Silver presented character witnesses. It argued that the information was “relevant not only to the defendant’s moral character, but to the use of his official position for private benefit.” The defense prevailed in persuading Caproni to keep evidence of the affairs out of the trial.
Silver was convicted on seven political corruption counts.
@|Mark Hamblett can be reached at Mhamblett@alm.com