NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — From his use of Twitter to a so-called “perp walk” that consisted of a car ride, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Thursday defended his handling of the arrest of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Bharara filed papers in Manhattan in U.S. District Court, saying a motion last week by Silver’s attorneys to toss the case was without merit.READ MORE: Campaign 2021: Early Voting Begins In New Jersey And New York City
The once-powerful Democrat was indicted two weeks ago on charges that he received $4 million in kickbacks from law firms for doing political favors since 2002, disguising the income as legitimate income.
The 71-year-old Silver has said he’ll be vindicated. He remains an assemblyman, continuing to represent the Lower Manhattan district he has served for nearly four decades.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported last week, Silver’s legal team said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who brought the case, has overstepped his bounds — especially making comments about the way New York State government operates.READ MORE: Many New Yorkers Canceling, Scaling Back Halloween Festivities Due To COVID Concerns
“He has offered his uncensored views about Mr. Silver’s guilt, his character and the severity of his crimes — always in inflammatory, over-the-top language that targets not just Mr. Silver but the entire New York state government,” lawyers for Silver said in court papers. Joel Cohen, one of Silver’s attorneys, said Thursday he’ll respond to Bharara’s filing with more court papers.
In a brief signed by four prosecutors, Bharara’s office said Silver’s claims had no basis in facts or the law and it defended the announcement of Silver’s Jan. 22 arrest and remarks Bharara made a day later in a law school speech when he joked repeatedly that power in New York State was “unduly concentrated in the hands of just a few men” — the governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate president.
Bharara’s office attached the full office Twitter feed related to Silver’s arrest as an exhibit to its court filing, saying Silver’s lawyers omitted in their request to throw out the charges key information such as the fact that the Twitter feed referenced “charges” and was linked to a press release and a criminal complaint.
Bharara’s office said its press release and press conference statements made “abundantly clear that the charges were allegations.” It added: “Moreover, it is not unusual or inappropriate in any way for this office to use Twitter as a means of augmenting other, more traditional, means of providing information to the public.”
Prosecutors also said Silver’s arrest was handled “with great sensitivity — from the choice to allow the defendant to surrender, to the decision to drive the defendant to the courthouse as opposed to having federal agents walk the defendant across the plaza, to the use of an unmarked car to handle the transport.”MORE NEWS: Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun Was 'Cold' Before Fatal Movie Set Shooting, Court Records Show
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)