Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison. Once one of New York’s most powerful men, he was convicted in November of extortion and money laundering related to a series of schemes that netted him millions in exchange for political favors.
Silver, 72, faced up to 100 years in prison, though prosecutors only recommended a sentence of 14 years. Judge Valerie Caproni did uphold prosecutors’ request that Silver forfeit $5.2 million in ill-gotten gains, and he also faces $1.75 million in fines.
Requesting leniency, Silver’s lawyers had requested the former speaker be allowed to use his “unique talents” for the benefit of others, the New York Times reports, arguing that a sentence of “extensive community service and little—if any—incarceration could do that.”
Those “unique talents” did, according to prosecutors, benefit him in more than a financial manner. Last month, unsealed court documents also revealed evidence that Silver had carried on at least two extramarital affairs while in office, and rewarded his mistresses with government jobs and access.