NYT: Trump mulls Silver clemency

Dan Levy
Updated: January 19, 2021 09:28 AM
Created: January 18, 2021 11:33 PM

ALBANY - President Trump has already made it crystal clear, he intends to use his clemency power to help allies, supporters, or people he perceives to be victims of prosecutorial overreach.

After the New York Times reported in its Tuesday edition that Trump is considering clemency for New York's former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, many people might wonder which category Silver falls into.

"When I first saw the article, I was absolutely shocked," said Assemblyman John McDonald (D - Cohoes).

McDonald says he got to know Shelly Silver a bit during the year and a half they spent together as Democratic Assembly colleagues. He says he can't figure out why the Republican President Trump would consider springing the convicted former Assembly speaker free.

"If you asked me to name 100 people that the current president would be granting clemency to, Shelly Silver would not even have been anywhere near the list," McDonald asserted. "I don't know where they're relationship would have been. Maybe it was an old time relationship. I don't understand it. I don't agree with it. On the other hand, the only person who is going to be able to answer that question is the current president."

Steve McLaughlin was also an assemblyman during Silver's reign. He's a Republican who issued a statement that reads: "Sheldon Silver should stay right where he is, in a jail cell paying his debt to the people of New York. I disagree with any consideration of clemency for tarnished Silver. Silver used his office to enrich himself and the signal this sends is that crime pays."

Meanwhile, Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy says she's "speechless" at the thought of Trump springing Silver from prison.

Fahy issued a statement that reads: "I feel much better about Shelly Silver being pardoned over Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon was the gaslighter extraordinaire and one of the most divisive advocates in history! Shelly Silver may have done wrong late in his career but not even in the same league as someone like Steve Bannon."

Silver, who turns 77 next month, was convicted of taking nearly $4 million in bribes when he was Assembly speaker. He began serving a 6 1/2-year sentence at the federal Otisville Prison in Orange County, New York last summer.

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