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Sheldon Silver left jailed, bedridden and alone in final days after epic fall from power: report

Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent his final days in a prison bed and suffering from severe diarrhea – a feeble end after an epic fall from power, a new report revealed.

Silver was doing time on corruption charges after a lengthy reign as one most influential people in the Empire State — an iron-fisted politician known to crush projects he didn’t like, such as a proposed football stadium on Manhattan’s West Side.

He died a broken man in federal custody on Jan. 24, 2022, with a stunning new report from The City revealing new details about how the Democrat spent his last, sad days.

Silver, who was then 77 years old, had been suffering from a litany of medical problems, including debilitating back pain and severe diarrhea, according to federal Bureau of Prisons records obtained by the outlet.

A new report detailed former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s final days in a federal lockup, where he was sent after allegedly taking $4 million in bribes. Erik Thomas/NY Post

The Lower East Side native — who had been sentenced to six-and-a-half years for accepting nearly $4 million in bribes while in office — had lost nearly 60 pounds in the six months before his death from cardiac arrest, the report said.

His “altered mental status” had forced authorities to move him from the Federal Medical Center Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, to nearby Nashoba Valley Medical Center about 10 days beforehand, according to the report.

The disgraced politician had been let out of jail in May 2021 under the CARES Act, which let the prisons bureau transfer more than 13,000 vulnerable, nonviolent offenders to home confinement to avoid the COVID pandemic.

But it didn’t last — he spent one night in his own bed in Lower Manhattan, sources told The City.

The next day, friends and family drove him to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights because he got “really, really sick,” said Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, president of the Tzedek Association, an advocacy group that helped several people gain clemency during the Trump years.

Silver (left) was once one of the most powerful and feared politicians in Albany. Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK
Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Massachusetts, where Silver died on Jan. 24, 2022. Nashoba Valley Medical Center

After two days of freedom, Silver was moved directly from the hospital to prison medical facility FMC Devers.

Federal prosecutors had opposed his release and made a behind-the-scenes appeal to put him back in jail, The City said.

“He was released and returned because of political pressure,” Margaretten claimed.

Silver’s medical condition worsened once he was back in custody, the records showed.

Before he went to Nashoba, he couldn’t even get out of bed to use the bathroom. And he was nearly immobile after fracturing his osteoporosis-weakened back, according to The City.

His pain level was at a 12 out of 10, he told doctors.

Silver suffered from intense back pain and severe diarrhea in the final weeks of his life. Rashid Umar Abbasi

This left Silver — who served as speaker under five governors and negotiated budgets and legislation alongside the state’s most influential leaders — feeble and bedridden, relying on other prisoners to help him with his daily tasks, the report said.

Eventually, doctors intubated him when his oxygen levels dropped, the outlet said. But the prison staff allegedly barred his wife, Rosa, from visiting — guests could only drop by during “end of life situations,” prison medical records revealed.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told The City that there was “no evidence to suggest” that Silver’s wife had been blocked from visiting.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno watch David Paterson as he speaks during his swearing-in ceremony back in 2008. Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

On his last day, his condition somehow improved so much that doctors at Nashoba pulled out his breathing tube. But a few hours later, he went into cardiac arrest.

Prison activists and experts said it wasn’t uncommon for federal inmates to face similar circumstances in their final days. But the loss still stings some — like Margaretten, of the Tzedek Association.

“What happened with Shelly Silver was absolutely tragic and wrong,” he told The City.

“Whatever anyone will say about Shelly, it is indisputable that he did not deserve a death sentence.”

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