On Thursday, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges. A spokesman for the American Tort Reform Association called the arrest a “turning point” in the effort to combat abuses in the nation’s top judicial hellhole since Silver is the state’s number one opponent of legal reform.
As reported by the New York Times, Silver’s arrest for “using the power of his office to solicit millions in bribes and kickbacks . . . sent shock waves through the political establishment and upended the new legislative session.”
Silver is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion. According to the complaint, “Silver obtained approximately $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position.” The charges stem from the money Silver was paid by the state’s most prolific asbestos law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, and from another Manhattan law firm specializing in real estate tax work.
Weitz & Luxemberg is the same firm that in 2004 tried to lure out of state plaintiffs into New Jersey to sue Merck over Vioxx partly because of our states’s relatively lax expert evidence standards.