U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara responded to Democrat Sheldon Silver’s allegations that he orchestrated a media firestorm surrounding his arrest by implying it could have been worse.
Bharara asked a federal judge to deny the motion brought by Silver to dismiss the corruption case saying his public comments weren’t out of line and that he was certain to take note of the presumption of innocence.
Bharara also said he went out of his way to limit the embarrassment for Silver by having him surrender in the basement of the Javits Federal Building before being driven to the courthouse.
This he said, spared Silver from the indignity of a “perp walk.”
Via the New York Post:
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara fired back at Sheldon Silver Thursday, saying his public comments about the once-powerful Assembly speaker’s arrest were more than fair — and besides, he even cut him a break by sparing him a “perp walk.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s statements violated no ethical rule, did not unfairly prejudice the defendant, and were consistent with the stated mission of the [Department of Justice],” Bharara’s team wrote in a Manhattan federal court filing responding to Silver’s motion to have the case tossed based on the prosecutor’s post-arrest statements.
Silvers lawyers two weeks ago claimed that statements Bharara made about the charges — which allege Silver lined his pockets with nearly $4 million in bribes and kickbacks in a stunning abuse of power dating to at least 2000 — “caused irreparable harm by tainting” the grand jury that indicted him on Feb. 19.
Bharara charges that Silver’s defense team is taking comments out of context, and that the U.S. attorney used the words “alleged” or “allegations” nearly three dozen times.
The court filing concluded: “The statements made by the U.S. Attorney that are challenged here are fully compatible with the proper and fair administration of justice and did not violate the defendant’s rights in any way.”
Silver was arrested earlier this year on federal corruption charges for collecting nearly $4 million in illegitimate payments from the law firm Goldberg & Iryami, and another named Weitz & Luxenberg, and performed no tasks in exchange for the payments. Silver also failed to report those earnings on his annual financial disclosure filings.