NEW YORK – Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been released from a federal prison on furlough while he awaits potential placement to home confinement, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Silver, 77, began serving his more than six-year sentence at a prison in Otisville, New York, in August, after years of fending off going behind bars in a corruption case.
He has been released to his home while awaiting a final decision on whether he can serve the rest of his sentence there in home confinement, the person said. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
The federal Bureau of Prisons didn't provide details or a reason for the transfer, but Congress gave the Justice Department expanded powers during the coronavirus pandemic to release inmates on furlough and home confinement to prevent them from catching the virus behind bars.
Later Tuesday, Silver was seen by media going into his Manhattan apartment building. Wearing a gray cap and blue face covering, he sat in a wheelchair as he was taken into the residence.
A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, which prosecuted Silver, said it sent an email to the Bureau of Prisons on Monday opposing his furlough.
Lawyers who have represented Silver at trial and at the appeals court either said they no longer represent him or did not respond to email and voice messages.
Several other prisoners at Otisville, including former President Donald Trump's onetime lawyer Michael Cohen, have been serving their sentences at home because of the pandemic.