Sheldon Silver's corruption trial continues today.
On Friday, prosecutors detailed Silver's shenanigans with Governor Cuomo's favorite donor, Glenwood Management.
Zach Fink reported that defense attorneys aren't disputing any of the details the prosecution is presenting, just claiming that none of the actions Shelly took amount to crimes:
Prosecutors have been busy outlining an alleged corruption scheme in which Sheldon Silver steered Glenwood Management, a large real estate company with business before the state, to a small law firm for tax work. Silver then collected referral fees. Prosecutors say this amounted to a quid-pro-quo.
Defense attorneys aren't disputing any of the details. They just maintain that the former Assembly speaker never broke the law.
Testifying Friday was lobbyist Brian Meara, who represents Glenwood Management. He explained how lobbying works for advancing legislation. He also testified that Silver had a longstanding relationship with Glenwood management that included drafting bills that were - if not necessarily helpful to Glenwood - certainly not as harmful as they could have been. Meara said Silver had a private relationship with Glenwood, while at the same time advocating publicly for tenant rights over issues like the rent regulations which need to be renewed every four years.
Meara said he had no knowledge of the fees Silver was receiving from the law firm, but did say he had concerns for Silver politically in terms of how it might look for him to be working so closely to keep Glenwood satisfied.
Testimony continues on Monday. The government is expected to call two witnesses who work for the state Assembly. They are Lisa Reidm who works in compliance, and Michael Whyland, who served as Silver's spokesman and now works for current Speaker Carl Heastie.
Fink said yesterday, given the way the case has gone so far, he wouldn't be surprised if Silver is acquitted:
.@ZackFinkNews says on @EffectiveOnAir this a.m. that he would not be surprised if Preet Bharara fails to get a conviction of Shelly Silver.
— Morgan Pehme (@morganpehme) November 15, 2015
I think there's something to that - the Skelos case, with the wiretaps, seems like a slam dunk case while this one is much more complex.
Given that one juror fell asleep during the Meara testimony, you have to wonder what the jurors are thinking about all of this.
The sleeping juror doesn't look good, that's for sure.
If Silver walks, that will be a big hit to Bharara's prestige and could affect the other cases the feds are working on - including the one into Cuomo's Buffalo Billion Project.