New York Democrat Sheldon Silver Found Guilty on Federal Charges of Fraud, Extortion

Hillary Clinton praised Silver as 'stalwart voice on the needs for New Yorkers'

Democrat Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly, was found guilty on counts of fraud, extortion, and money laundering in a federal court on Monday, according to the New York Times.

Silver had become one of the most powerful politicians in the state but it all unraveled after he was arrested in January and a web of corruption that brought in nearly $4 million in illegal payments to Silver was laid out by federal prosecutors.

Federal prosecutor Howard Master said in court that Silver used his office to "dispense benefits to people who were paying him in quid pro quo relationship" and that his model of government "was by Sheldon Silver for Sheldon Silver."

The arrest stemmed from an investigation carried out by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who said that the Silver was proof that the "show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated and promoted at the very top of the political food chain."

Silver was speaker for two decades, and became a force to be reckoned with in state politics. He played a key role in gathering support for Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, which had to overcome the fact that Clinton had very limited ties to the state.

Clinton apparently never noticed that Silver's primary interest as speaker was to line his own pockets. In 2008, Clinton described Silver as a "stalwart voice on the needs for New Yorkers."