Sheldon Silver, the Democratic powerhouse who ruled Albany politics until his arrest and eventual conviction on federal corruption charges, has died. He is 77 years old.
Silver died while serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence at a federal prison in Middlesex, Massachusetts. His former chief of staff confirmed to The Washington Post after he was convicted in 2018 of accepting nearly $4 million in bribes.
During sentencing, the Manhattan native, who has a history of chronic kidney disease and cancer, pleaded with the judge overseeing his case to let him complete his sentence at home.
“Your Honor, I do not want to die in prison,” Silver wrote in a letter to Judge Valerie Caproni at the time.
Caproni declined the request.
Silver was briefly cut off and allowed to go home during the coronavirus pandemic in May 2021, but was soon sent home.
Sheldon Silver, who dominated New York state politics for years as the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives before being convicted on federal corruption charges, was ordered back in jail on Thursday, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter.
Silver, 77, was in federal custody Thursday afternoon at a lower Manhattan hospital and is expected to be returned to the prison in Otisville, N.Y., later that day, an official said.
Just two days ago, prison officials sent Mr Silver home on leave while he awaits a decision on his request to be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence at home. At the time, he was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in less than a year.
Mr Silver’s return to prison so quickly indicated his request had been denied, but a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on any aspect of his identity.
“For privacy, safety and security reasons, we do not discuss prison conditions or release plans,” the spokesman said. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, prison officials have leeway in deciding which inmates are allowed to be confined to their homes.