What prosecutors cast as misdeeds — collecting referral fees from a real estate law firm employed by major developers and a firm that represented asbestos patients treated by a medical researcher that Silver gave state funding — were presented as the inevitable conflicts of a part-time Legislature where lawmakers have side jobs.
“New York has adopted a citizen Legislature model. They not only live under these laws, they work under these laws … and this allows more points of view to be heard,” Molo said. “That may make you uncomfortable, but that is the system New York has chosen, and that is not a crime.”
It's a system where campaign money flows, where powerful interests hire connected lobbyists to ensure their needs are whispered into the right ears. Where the speaker can prevent a vote on legislation that has the support of the majority of the chamber's elected representatives. It's a system where Silver doled out earmarks based on seniority and loyalty to consolidate his own grip on power. Where he traded a reduction in pension benefits for the ability to draw legislative districts and authorized the state's first charter schools in exchange for a pay raise.
Playing both sides - that was Silver's game:
"Mr. Silver is one of the great, great champions of tenants’ rights." (And secretly on landlords' payroll.) https://t.co/pexqfXjGrx— Bill Hammond (@NYHammond) November 4, 2015
This "is the system New York has chosen" - that echoes Hyman Roth in The Godfather II:
I dunno, I have a difficult time seeing how this defense works so well for Silver - hey, sure it looks bad, but everybody does it!
Steve McLaughlin put it well:
If the best that #TarnishedSilver defense team has is 'this is all normal, nothing to see here'.. get his cell ready https://t.co/FbVYVi7dki— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) November 3, 2015
We'll see - you never know with a jury - but some of this doesn't sound too good for Shelly.