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Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver found guilty in corruption retrial

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver arrives to the courthouse in New York, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat who led the Assembly for 20 years, is accused of taking more than $4 million in bribes and kickbacks. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

AP

NEW YORK -- A jury found former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver guilty on all counts in his corruption retrial. Prosecutors say Silver took $4 million in payoffs disguised as legal fees, with Silver's lawyer arguing there was no crime, calling the fees "common, standard and accepted."

Lawyers made their closing arguments Thursday and jurors deliberated less than an hour over his mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion charges.

Silver's 2015 conviction was overturned on appeal after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowed the definition of a "corrupt act."

Prosecutors say the 74-year-old Silver earned $4 million illegally in fees for his work on behalf of a cancer researcher and real estate developers who stood to benefit from his clout as one of the three most powerful politicians in New York state government. They say he made another $1 million investing the money.

Silver was first elected to the Assembly in 1976 and eventually became one of the three most powerful politicians in the state, playing a pivotal role in deciding what legislation made it to a vote, CBS New York reports. Before he was charged in 2015, Silver was considered one of Albany's "three men in a room," along with former Senate leader Dean Skelos and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Skelos was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2015, although his conviction was overturned in 2017.