NEW YORK – A prosecutor says New York's former assembly speaker took millions of dollars in kickbacks, but his lawyer insists the money wasn't a bribe.
The dueling portrayals of Sheldon Silver were offered Monday in opening statements at his corruption trial in federal court in Manhattan.
It's the second criminal trial for the 74-year-old Silver. The once-powerful Democrat's conviction at an earlier trial was overturned.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Damian Williams told jurors that Silver engineered a bribery scheme that made him in $4 million in legal fees. He described the defendant as someone who was "blinded by greed."
Defense attorney Michael Feldberg said there was no proof that Silver pocketed the money in exchange for taking official action. He said accepting the fees was "100 percent legal."
This story has been corrected to identify the Assistant U.S. Attorney as Damian Williams, not Damien Williams.