Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was indicted Thursday on federal corruption charges after he was accused of using his position in the state legislature to collect millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.
The indictment charges Silver with honest services mail fraud, honest services wire fraud and extortion under the color of his official duties.
Silver, a Democrat who served as the speaker of the assembly for More than 20 years, was arrested in late January and is accused of collecting around $4 million in bribes and kickbacks since 2002, using his law license and lax New York disclosure laws to disguise the profits as referral fees.
Silver resigned his leadership role about a week after his arrest and was replaced by Rep. Carl Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx.
Silver has said he expects to be exonerated on the charges and intends to keep his seat in the legislature.
Lawyers Joel Cohen and Steven Molo say they will "fight for his total vindication." Silver has said he is confident it will come.
Silver is the latest Albany politician to become embroiled in a corruption scandal in recent years over the years. The last legislative leader to be charged was former State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Bruno, a Republican, was acquitted last year after fighting two federal corruption counts for much of the last decade.
Earlier this month, former Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith was found guilty in an alleged scheme to bribe his way to run for mayor as a Republican.
State Sens. Vincent Leibell, Hiram Monserrate and Carl Kruger and New York City councilman Larry Seabrook have also been targets in federal corruption investigations.
-- Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report.