In overturning the conviction Thursday, the Manhattan court cited a US Supreme Court ruling past year in the case of Bob McDonnell, a former Republican governor of Virginia, that narrowed the definition of the kind of official conduct that can serve as the basis of a corruption prosecution. On May 3, 2016, federal judge Valerie E. Caproni of the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY sentenced Silver to 12 years in jail, and ordered him to pay $5.3 million in ill-gotten gains and $1.75 million in additional fines. He said lawmakers have taken no steps to rein-in their outside income or empower independent prosecutors to go after corruption - even in the wake of the conviction of Silver and ex-Long Island Sen.
In their view, this is not justice denied, and it will only be a matter of time until Silver - "one of the most powerful politicians in New York State history" - gets a just punishment.
Prosecutors said they were disappointed by the ruling, but looked forward to retrying the case. At least not after the guidance the Supreme Court had handed down in the McDonnell case, which found the justices grappling with what counts as an "official act" under federal anti-bribery statute. Bob McDonnell, which happened after Mr.More news: Quentin Tarantino To Direct Film About the Manson-Tate Murders
The case was returned to the trial court for further proceedings.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim promised a swift retrial, and expressed confidence that his office would secure a conviction.
In Thursday's appeals court decision, Judge Jose Cabranes agreed with the argument of Silver's legal team, writing that, had jurors been using the new standard for corruption cases, they might not have come down with a guilty verdict.More news: Djokovic clash with Mannarino postponed until Tuesday
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was in charge when Silver was convicted and sentenced, wrote on Twitter that the evidence was "strong", and the Supreme Court had "changed the law". The judge in Silver's case had defined it as "any action taken or to be taken under color of official authority", which "was erroneous under McDonnell", the appeals court said.
Cabranes said this made it unclear beyond a reasonable doubt that Silver would otherwise have been convicted, though "many would view the facts adduced at Silver's trial with distaste".
Prosecutors will face one of their first major tests in the case against Sen.More news: China: US Has Apologized for 'Republic of China' Error