Sheldon Silver headed back to upstate federal prison after two days of home confinement: source
It’s back to federal prison for disgraced former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose home confinement release was revoked Thursday after just two days, a source told the Daily News.
Silver, 77, has been ordered to return to Otisville prison in Orange County, N.Y. after being released Tuesday on “furlough,” the source familiar with the matter said.
The former Assembly Speaker had been awaiting official designation to home confinement. The federal Bureau of Prisons, after considering Manhattan federal prosecutors’ strong opposition to Silver’s release, apparently reversed course.
The fallen Albany powerbroker has served less than a year of a 6 1/2-year sentence for secretly taking $800,000 in legal fees from real estate developers from 2005 to 2015.
“I think most New Yorkers were bewildered by the fact that he was out after a very short amount of time for such a long sentence and for such a well-known public crime. I think the average New Yorker wants to see justice done in cases of crimes of that magnitude,” said Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Nassau).
Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, has long pursued legislation that would strip pensions from elected officials convicted of corruption. Taxpayers remain on the hook for Silver’s $6,600 a month pension.
Silver’s attorney James Loonam did not respond to an email.
Sources previously told The News that Silver, a Democrat who represented the Lower East Side, was in poor health.
Silver arrived at his Grand St. apartment earlier this week in a wheelchair.
“Right now his family is going to focus on getting his health back,” Rabbi Akiva Homnick, president of Pidyon Shvuyai Yisroel, a prisoner support group, said upon Silver’s release.
Homnick had less to say Thursday after learning Silver was returning to the upstate lockup for white collar criminals.
“The family has no comment at this time and are focusing on his health,” Homnick said.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Silver was being treated at a lower Manhattan hospital.
A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office declined comment. Public records show Silver is scheduled for release in March 2026.
“For privacy, safety, and security reasons, we do not discuss an inmates condition of confinement or release plans,” the Bureau of Prisons said, declining to elaborate on Silver’s status.
Congress granted the Bureau of Prisons leeway during the pandemic to spring prisoners at heightened risk of death due to coronavirus. Silver, because of his age and nonviolent corruption crimes, falls squarely into the categories of candidates for home confinement under Prisons Bureau policy.
Given his ill health, it was right for the Bureau of Prisons to send Silver to home confinement, said his friend and former Assembly colleague Harvey Weisenberg.
“He’s a human being. He’s a religious man. He’s not a bum,” said Weisenberg. “The fact is he’s physically and physiologically being abused — it’s not just.
“It’s a death sentence and it’s all because he’s a Democrat,” added Weisenberg, a Democrat from Long Beach, L.I. “This is a man who spent half his life in public service. When politics takes over government, there is no government.”
Silver’s re-imprisonment was the latest twist in a legal saga dating back to his arrest in 2015. Silver was found guilty twice in separate trials after his first conviction was thrown out due to a legal technicality.
Then his conviction for a second corruption scheme involving legal referrals for mesothelioma patients was thrown out by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
He also tried unsuccessfully to take his case to the Supreme Court.
The all-out legal battle resulted in Judge Valerie Caproni sentencing Silver three times. He finally started his sentence in August of last year.
While behind bars, Silver attempted to score a pardon from President Donald Trump during the chaotic final days of his administration. Silver and his allies used connections to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Kaminsky previously said.
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New York Republicans loudly voiced their opposition to the move. Trump reportedly chose not to pardon Silver at the last minute, dashing the ailing pol’s hopes for freedom.