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The appeals court decision Thursday to overturn his conviction hinges on whether jurors would have convicted Silver had they been asked to consider a narrower definition of "official act" used in corruption cases.

"We recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver's trial with distaste", Judge José A. Cabranes wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit.

"There's no question that the government presented evidence relating to Mr. Rather, it is whether it is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a rational jury, properly instructed, would have found Silver guilty".

The McDonnell case had experts speculating that other government officials brought down by similar corruption charges might have a better shot at a successful appeal.

Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison by the judge, Valerie E. Caproni, but he was allowed to remain free pending his appeal.

Lawyers for Silver had made the McDonnell ruling a key component of their appeal.

At trial, prosecutors showed that Silver received almost $4 million in legal fees for getting Glenwood Management and Taub to refer legal cases to law firms where Silver worked.

The Second Circuit determined Thursday that any jury weighing the charges against Silver must be given guided on such instructions. Silver's jury only considered whether he had acted "under the color" of his elected office. In pleading for mercy at sentencing, he wrote a letter to the court admitting that he had "failed the people of NY".

It should be noted that the appellate court's ruling still leaves the door open for prosecutors to retry Mr.

"Although it will be delayed, we do not expect justice to be denied", he added.

However, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is defending his prosecution of Silver.

The former assembly speaker was one of the most powerful political figures in NY.

Another part of the McDonnell case that might come into play is the role of low-key favors in Silver's conviction.

"I don't know what people will find and argue about this", Cuomo said in Buffalo when asked if the decision would raise the noise level surrounding ethics reform in the Legislature again.

By prosecutors' telling, Menendez tried to influence immigration-visa proceedings for the ophthalmologist's girlfriends; assisted the ophthalmologist in a dispute with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and advocated for action to help the ophthalmologist make money from a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.

"It is not a statement that Silver did not break the law", Kramer said. "Silver's activities were, they don't meet the definition of a crime", he said.