Less than two weeks before Sheldon Silver is scheduled to be sentenced for his conviction on the charges of corruption, his wife is pleading for leniency for her husband from a federal judge, because of his battle with prostate cancer.
Several weeks ago, Rosa Silver wrote in a letter, “It terrifies me that his father and brother both died from the same kind of cancer Shelly was diagnosed with.” The letter was made public last week. It emphasizes the many accomplishments that the 72-year-old Silver has had for the citizens of New York State.
As prosecutors push for a sentence exceeding 14 years in federal prison, Rosa requested Judge Valerie Caproni go easy on her husband. Last November, Silver was found guilty on charges of fraud, extortion and money laundering related to two bribery schemes.
Rosa is not alone in her fight for Silver, multiple prominent rabbis have put their support behind him, citing his extensive history of community service.
The Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, acknowledged Silver’s wrong doings, but at the same time requested a lighter sentence.
Rabbi Perlow wrote, “I would respectfully urge that you focus on the entirety of Mr. Silver’s career, not just his unfortunate deviations from legal strictures.”
VOA reported, “Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union, wrote a letter on Silver’s behalf, citing an instance of Silver reaching out to an insurance company to advocate for a sick person who needed help covering their medical expenses. That letter, which described Silver as a ‘good person’ was written by Rabbi Genack on the stationery of his synagogue, Congregation Shomrei Emunah of Teaneck, and not that of the OU.
Others who wrote letters to Judge Caproni on Silver’s behalf include former New York City mayor David Dinkins, United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, Silver’s former chief of staff Judy Rapfogel, and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein.”
Hoenlein wrote, “In the four decades of our association, Mr. Silver volunteered his assistance, participation and support for many important civil and human rights, for advancing intergroup relations, and aiding charitable and communal undertakings. He did so without seeking public recognition.”
Silver wrote his own letter to Judge Caproni that was filed Wednesday, April 20th. In it he apologizes to the court, to the people of New York and his constituents, as well as to his family for his "actions."
He wrote, "I failed the people of New York. There is no question about it."
"I let my peers down, I let the people of the State down and I let down my constituents — the people of Lower Manhattan that I live among and fought for," he continued. "They deserve better."
However, he also requested that Judge Valerie Caproni take into account all the positive work he had done over the years, saying he "respectfully" hopes she will "examine the 'good' things I have tried to do as a public servant and as an individual...what I consider a lifetime of hard work and many good deeds"
In Manhattan federal court, Silver will be sentenced on May 3rd.