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A federal appeals court, citing a Supreme Court ruling from last year, tossed out the corruption conviction of disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The Thursday ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was quickly followed by acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim’s declaration that Silver would face a retrial.

“We look forward to presenting to another jury the evidence of decades-long corruption by one of the most powerful politicians in New York State history,” said Kim.

“Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied.”

Silver, one of the most powerful politicians in New York across a half-century career, was convicted of all seven counts in his November 2015 corruption trial.

Attorneys for Silver hailed the appeals court decision.

“We're absolutely delighted with the result, and look forward in the future to a full Silver vindication,” said Silver’s lawyers, Joel Cohen and Steven Molo.

Silver, 73, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his participation in a pair of crooked schemes involving $4 million in kickbacks and bribes.

But the appeals court cited a 2016 Supreme Court ruling — made after Silver’s conviction and sentencing — redefining the phrase “official act” as applied to fraud and extortion charges.

The judges agreed with Silver’s contention that jury instructions in his trial were erroneous in light of the decision handed down in the case of McDonnell vs. United States.

The jury charge was “in error,” the appeals court ruled. “We further hold that this error was not harmless because it is not clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have reached the same conclusion if properly instructed.

“Accordingly, we vacate the District Court’s judgment of conviction on all counts.”

Silver remained free on bail while fighting his conviction. He was also fined $1.7 million in the case.

While some in Albany reserved comment until the case is retried, others wondered what the nation’s courts were thinking.

“Today's Second Circuit decision shows that the golden age of Albany corruption is still very much alive,” said Assemblyman Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua).

“Sheldon Silver was tried and convicted of fraud, extortion and money laundering. If his actions weren't illegal, it's hard to imagine what is.”

Assembly member Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan), while acknowledging Silver was now entitled to a second trial, said the ruling changed little else.

“What he did was wrong and a betrayal of the people of our state,” said Kavanagh.

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Silver, seen leaving federal court last year, was found guilty of several corruption charges in November 2015.

 (ALEC TABAK/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

 

Gov. Cuomo, speaking in Buffalo, said the ruling was another step in the legal process.

“Before we do the dissection and the analysis of the legal theories, let it be fully litigated,” he said. “And then we’ll know where we wind up.”

In the earlier case, the Supreme Court vacated the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell by clarifying the legal definition of an “official act.”

He was convicted in 2014 on 11 corruption counts.

Ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who headed the prosecution against Silver, predicted the politician’s retrial would end with the same verdict.

“The evidence was strong,” he tweeted. “The Supreme Court changed the law. I expect Sheldon Silver to be re-tried and reconvicted.”

The ruling raised hopes in the camp of former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos, who is appealing a 2015 extortion and bribery conviction by citing the same Supreme Court decision.

Silver was once one of the most influential people in New York state, ruling as one of Albany’s “three men in a room” with the governor and the majority leader of the state Senate.

The Manhattan jury convicted Silver of leveraging his position to make millions in surreptitious deals involving two law firms, two developers and a medical researcher.

He was handcuffed and arrested on Jan. 22, 2015, sending shockwaves through the halls of power in Albany.

Silver, the son of a Lower East Side hardware store owner, was convicted of all seven counts brought by prosecutors. The guilty verdict forced his immediate ouster as Speaker, a job that he held for 20 years.

Prosecutors accused Silver of a quid pro quo deal where he arranged $500,000 in state grants to a doctor who in turn steered patients suffering from a deadly form of asbestos-related cancer to the speaker’s law firm.

In the second scheme, Silver directed a pair of major developers to hire the law firm Goldberg & Iryami for litigation challenging city tax assessments.

Silver then collected a secret payoff of $700,000 in referral fees from the firm.

The federal appeals court ruled that closing arguments by prosecutors at the trial served to reinforce the bad jury instruction.

“The Government's own summation confirms that the jury instructions conveyed an erroneous understanding of the law as clarified by McDonnell,” the appeals court found.

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