Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly, is going to leave his post, to be replaced by majority leader Joseph D. Morelle, a Democrat from Rochester, as interim speaker. A new Speaker will be picked in a vote on Feb. 10.
Still, Silver, 70, who’s been an Assembly member from Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side since 1976, is not resigning from his elected office.
Silver has been charged by the feds with mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion. On Thursday, prosecutors seized $3.8 million of his personal funds.
The Speaker was accused in a five-count indictment of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.”
The indictment also alleges that Silver was involved in a scheme “to induce real estate developers with business before the state, ” employing a real estate law firm that arranged payments to him for referrals.
“There is probable cause to believe that Silver received approximately $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position.”
Prosecutors said Silver did not perform any legal work in exchange for the money.
The NY Times described Silver slowly leaving Albany “amid a crush of reporters” Tuesday evening, saying he has no plan to resign from his Assembly seat to which he had been duly elected by his constituents. Still, Silver said: But he added, “I will not hinder a succession process.”
Silver added: “I believe very deeply in the institution. I hope that they can have somebody here who can carry on the good work that has taken place.”
The temporary Speaker Morelle, 57, is the favorite in the coming contest for the permanent position, although there are a few downstate contenders.