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Appeals court panel sympathetic to Sheldon Silver's claims

In this May 11, 2018 file photo, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver leaves federal court in New York. Silver, one of the most powerful politicians in New York for two decades, is scheduled to be sentenced to prison time on Friday, July 27, in the corruption case that ended his career. In this May 11, 2018 file photo, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver leaves federal court in New York. Silver, one of the most powerful politicians in New York for two decades, is scheduled to be sentenced to prison time on Friday, July 27, in the corruption case that ended his career. | Photo: AP Photo / Mary Altaffer, File.

March 13, 2019 07:38 PM

NEW YORK (AP) - Former New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver's quest to avoid prison got a boost when a panel of appeals judges heard his appeal.
    
The Democrat wasn't at oral arguments Wednesday before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan but he likely heard a positive report from his lawyers.
    
Two of the panel's three judges questioned whether Silver's actions fit the definition of a public corruption crime.
    
Circuit Judge Richard Sullivan said a description by prosecutors of what Silver promised to do in return for business steered to a law firm was "pretty squishy."
    
Silver is appealing his conviction and seven-year prison sentence. Prosecutors say he collected nearly $4 million in fees to help a cancer researcher and real estate developers. An earlier conviction was overturned.

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