It’s finally a cell for Shel.
Disgraced former Albany power broker Sheldon Silver surrendered to federal prison on Wednesday — bringing an end to a stunning fall from power by the one-time speaker of the New York Assembly.
Silver turned himself in Wednesday morning at Otisville Correctional Facility, a medium-security federal prison about 80 miles northeast of New York City, a spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Prisons said.
For the past five years, Silver — who for decades wielded immense power in Albany as “one of the three men in the room” — dodged serving his time while he mounted appeals of his two corruption convictions.
But his prospects of freedom ended last month, when Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni sentenced him to 6½ years in prison.
Caproni, calling Silver’s conduct in office “corruption pure and simple,” dismissed final attempts by his legal team to delay his prison term because of the coronavirus pandemic at the sentencing hearing.
“The time … has now come for Mr. Silver to pay the piper,” Caproni said before handing down the sentence.
Silver, a 76-year-old Democrat from the Lower East Side, was convicted of taking nearly $4 million in bribes and kickbacks in two corrupt schemes during his time in office.
He was convicted twice for a pair of schemes — supporting a real estate developer’s position on rent regulations for “referral-fee” kickbacks in one, and funneling state funds to a cancer research firm in return for patient referrals to his legal practice in the other.
His first conviction was fully overturned in 2017 after an appeals court ruled the jury instructions in the trial did not meet a new definition of corruption that had been adopted by the Supreme Court.
After a jury again convicted him 2018, an appeals court struck down his conviction on the charges related to the cancer research scheme — but upheld his conviction related to the real estate scheme.
At his sentencing hearing in July, Silver admitted his crimes, claiming to be angry and sad for selling his elected office for cash.
“I was so angry with myself and still am. But now that anger has mainly turned to sadness,” he said as his wife, Rosa Silver, watched from the gallery.
“My use of my office for personal gain was improper, selfish and ethically indefensible.”
But the disgraced ex-pol had begged the judge for leniency in a letter prior to his sentencing.
“This case has been going on for more than 5 years, but I feel like I have aged 15 or 20 years. My fate is in your hands,” Silver wrote to Caproni in June.
“Your Honor, I do not want to die in prison,” he added.