NEW YORK (AP) – Sheldon Silver, former Speaker of the New York Council, has been released from federal prison while he awaits home detention, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Silver, 77, began serving more than six years in prison. At a prison in Otisville, New York, in August, after years of fleeing behind bars in a corruption case.
He was released home while awaiting a final decision on whether he could serve the remainder of his sentence in home custody, the person said. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and speak to the AP on Tuesday on terms of anonymity.
The Federal Prison Service did not give details or the reason for the move. But Congress gave the Justice Department an extension of its power during the coronavirus outbreak. To release inmates who are in disability and are confined to their homes to prevent them from catching the virus behind bars
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney̵7;s Office in Manhattan, which has prosecuted Silver, said it sent an email to the prison office on Monday opposing his dismissal.
Lawyers who represented Silver at the trial and at the appeals court said they were no longer representing him or responded to emails and voicemail.
Several other prisoners at Otisville include President Donald Trump’s sole attorney, Michael Cohen. Serve their sentences at home due to the epidemic.
In a statement, the prison office noted that inmates can be moved home for a period of time while they are being considered for house arrest or halfway in the home.
Silver, a Manhattan-based Democrat, was once one of the three most powerful government officials in New York. He was the leader of the General Assembly for more than two decades before he was suddenly evicted in 2015 following allegations of corruption.
He was eventually found guilty of a project involving a type of illegal back scratching that plagued Albany for a long time. He supports legislation that benefits real estate developers he knows. On the other hand, they send the tax business to a law firm that hires Silver, who pays him a fee.
An appeal kept Silver in prison for years. His first 2015 conviction was lifted on appeal before he was sentenced again in 2018.Part of that conviction was thrown out on another appeal, leading to another trial. Times in july
At the trial, Silver’s attorneys asked the court to allow the sentence to be held under home custody rather than in prison, as the danger of contracting life-threatening COVID-19. The judge rejected him.
The Bureau of Prisons has moved some inmates to retreats in an effort to remove those expected to be detained at home faster from the prison facility.
More than 7,000 federal inmates are still held in the home, according to the prison office statistics. The agency has released nearly 25,000 prisoners home since March amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Under the guidelines of the office, the focus should be placed on home detention of half-serving inmates or inmates with 18 months or less remaining and serving at least 25% of the time, but the bureau has its own discretion who will be discharged.
In January, the Justice Department released a memorandum stating that the prison office may have to return some inmates who have received an extended home incarceration to prison when the coronavirus emergency period is set by Congress.
Silver’s lawyers contested that their client should be under house arrest as he was considered to be at high risk of coronavirus infection due to age and preexisting medical conditions.
Silver, who was elected to the convention in 1977 and as a speaker in 1994, had a release date from federal custody in 2026.
Associated Press reporters Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays in New York contributed to this report.