In Federal court last week in Manhattan, a jury found the longtime speaker of the New York Assembly, Sheldon Silver, guilty of all charges in a federal corruption trial.
The former speaker is convicted of steering $500,000 in taxpayer funds to a cancer researcher. That doctor, in turn, referred mesothelioma patients with potentially large legal claims to the plaintiffs firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, which kicked back a portion of its fees to the speaker — to the tune of $3 million. All very cozy.
In a post earlier this year, I wrote about my hope that the high-profile case would shine a spotlight on New York’s rigged Asbestos Litigation system and lead to a cleanup of the asbestos docket there. Silver’s conviction is certainly a step in the right direction, though New York continues to be a very high-risk jurisdiction for a defendant to try a case. I hope that these kind of cozy relationships between the political class and plaintiffs bar will continue to receive the disinfecting light of scrutiny in the New Year.