Sheldon Silver begins prison sentence

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NEW YORK — Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is finally behind bars.

The Lower East Side Democrat began his 6 1/2-year sentence at Otisville prison in upstate Orange County on Wednesday, the federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed.

Silver, 76, served as Assembly Speaker for 21 years and was one of the most powerful politicians in the state. He was indicted in 2015 but avoided facing justice thanks to appeals that resulted in a second trial and the dismissal of one of two corruption schemes he used to line his own pockets.

Silver will do time at the prison for white-collar criminals for secretly taking $800,000 in legal fees from real estate developers from 2005 to 2015. Most of the money came from Glenwood Management, which owns luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan and the Bronx. Silver performed a number of favors for the influential company, including supporting tax breaks and landlord-friendly rent rules.