Didn’t I tell you that the prosecution of former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would be tossed?
Silver might not have behaved ethically, but it was never proved that he engaged in quid pro quo either. It was never proved that he specifically handed two government grants to a mesothelioma research doctor who in turn referred sick patients to his law firm.
So let us rack up yet another failure for overbearing, over-reaching ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. His zeal often made him more of a menace to democracy than the pols he went after in his vicious climb to the middle.
On Thursday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned Bharara’s takedown of former Assembly Speaker — another highlight of his lowlife career.
Bharara how to spin his losses into triumphs quicker and more effectively even than Donald Trump — except that the media unblinkingly believes Bharara. After the ruling, he had the shamelessness to tweet, “The evidence was strong. The Supreme Court changed the law.”
So what is he saying? That he, an egomaniacal prosecutor was right and the Supreme Court of the United States was wrong?
As I wrote in March when President Trump fired Bharara, this is a guy who “has spent his career so successfully selling his failures as huge successes, his cowardice against Wall Street as triumphs, that he should have either won salesman of the year or maybe indicted himself for fraud.”
The reason he “won” the Silver case in the first place was because it was before the Supreme Court decision that clarified the charge.
Did Silver use his office to perform an official act in return for personal gain?
While Silver did get the researcher grant money — an official act — and the doc gave Silver’s firm referrals, the doctor never said Silver made him do it as an exchange.
Quid pro quo isn’t a thought crime. Quid pro quo means that both parties openly agree that if one party does a favor, the other party will do a favor right back. It literally means, “this for that.”
And in the case of elected officials it must be proved that it was an official act. (quid pro quo literally mean, “this for that.)
The Supreme Court case that Bharara claims “changed the law” was the corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, which was overturned because of prosecutorial overreach. In that ruling, the court clarified the definition of what constitutes “an official act.” The case will be argued again — hopefully the right way with the right judge this time.
Silver may or may not have acted for personal gain, and he was leader of the always-sleazy Albany political machine, but the case against him was still an overreach by Bharara.
Isn’t it about time that the media stopped its ridiculous and psycho love affair with former prosecutor? This is the man, remember, who arrested an Indian diplomat in front of her child’s school for underpaying her nanny, and who made deals for fines instead of jail time for the most terrible criminals of our time — the Wall Street bums who nearly brought down the economy of the United States.
And this is the man who had many of his convictions for insider trading overturned. And he did all of this on our dime and our time, while gaining huge ink for himself.
That sounds like its own form of quid pro quo to me.