The speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, was arrested by the FBI on corruption charges Thursday. Prosecutors allege that Silver, a Democrat who’s served as speaker for more than two decades, was paid more than $4 million from a small New York law firm that focuses on real-estate tax reductions for residential and commercial properties. Silver failed to list the payments from the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, on his annual financial-disclosure filings with the state. He faces five counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, and extortion. According to the complaint, he ran a scheme “to induce real-estate developers with business before the state” and was pulling payments for referrals he gave the firm.
Dozens of Assembly Democrats assembled Thursday to support their longtime leader. “There is a strong feeling, as I think we should all reflect on, that there is a presumption of innocence,” the majority leader said. “We have every confidence that the speaker is going to fill his role with distinction.”