74 year old Sheldon Silver used to be the most powerful Jewish politician in the State of New York. Sheldon had been in the New York legislature in Albany for the last 40 years. Sheldon had been the speaker of the Assembly since 1994. Sheldon is a religious Jew who graduated from Yeshiva University and Brooklyn Law School. I once met Sheldon in the Catskills long before he was indicted. He seemed to be a down to earth guy. He didn’t seem sleezy like the Clintons, or wacky like the Donald. Sheldon has lived in the Lower East Side for most of his life.
In 2015 the Feds busted Sheldon for political corruption. After the bust Sheldon resigned from the New York Assembly. Sheldon was tried before a jury, convicted, and sentenced to twelve long years in prison. Sheldon’s conviction was overturned last year by the Second Circuit. Sheldon is now back on trial. The Feds are pulling every trick in the book to get another conviction.
The first witness the Feds called to testify against Silver was Silver’s old buddy 82 year old Dr. Robert Taub, the former head of Columbia University’s prominent Mesothelioma Center. Dr. Taub has a large collection of colorful bow ties. Dr. Taub is a religious Jew and has known Silver for over 30 years. They spend Passover together. Silver has a full head of hair. Taub is completely bald.
Columbia University fired Taub after Silver got indicted. The Feds got Taub to flip on Silver. Silver worked for the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg. Taub referred cancer patients with potential asbestos lawsuits to Weitz & Luxenberg. Silver sent grants of $500K from the State of New York to Dr. Taub for cancer research.
Taub is not in good health. The trial was delayed because Taub couldn’t make it. Taub has been testifying for the last couple of days against Silver. The Feds agreed not to prosecute Taub in exchange for his testimony.
The Feds have requested in a Motion that the Judge not allow Silver’s attorneys to ask the 82 year old Taub to testify about how he and his wife were treated like street thugs by FBI agents when they banged on his door at six in the morning. The Feds are trying to prevent Silver from asking the same questions Taub answered during the first trial:
Q: “Do you recall the morning FBI agents showed up?”
A: “I believe so.”
Q: “It would be pretty hard to forget, right?”
Q: “Did they make an appointment to come see you?”
Q: “Did they call you first and say “‘We’re coming over?’”
Q: “They just showed up?”
Q: “And they woke you up?”
Q: “Were you startled that you were woken up by two criminal investigators coming from the prosecutors?”
A: “I was terrified.”
Q: “And I take it your wife was in her pajamas as well?”
Q: “Were you wearing slippers or shoes?”
A: “I don’t remember.”
The Feds don’t want American citizens sitting on the jury to hear testimony about how the United States Government treats its own citizens. The Feds don’t want Americans to know that Federal law enforcement agencies treat the American public with little respect, with no decency and with outright contempt. The Feds do not want the members of the jury to know whether Taub was wearing slippers or shoes when he was being questioned by FBI agents.
After the Feds treated the elderly Dr. Taub and his wife like street thugs Taub called Sheldon Silver in order to warn Silver that the Feds were on his tail. Taub wanted to tell Silver that the Feds were not cutting anyone a break, not even elderly bubbies or zaidies. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist, then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist, then they came for the bubbies and zaidies, and I did not speak out, because I was not a bubby or a zaidy, then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
After the Feds left, Dr. Taub called Sheldon Silver and told Silver, “I had been rendered ill… rendered sick by a visitation,” Taub used the phrase “bikur cholim” to describe his visit by the Feds. Bikur cholim refers to the mitzvah of visiting the sick. Bikur cholim literally means to examine the sick. Dr. Taub was not sick before the Feds showed up at his door at six in the morning. The Feds caused Taub to get sick. After the Feds got Taub and his wife sick they examined Taub to make sure Taub was healthy enough to testify against his friend Silver.
The Feds want to introduce evidence that Dr. Taub got fired from Columbia University. Silver’s attorneys have argued that his firing at Columbia has nothing to do with the case and is completely irrelevant. The Feds are the ones who caused Taub to get fired. Taub sued Columbia University for wrongful discharge of employment. That case is still pending.
The Feds want to introduce evidence that Silver arranged for an interview for Dr. Taub’s son Jonathan Taub with the OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, a social services organization based in Brooklyn that had received State funds from New York with the help of Silver. Typical political wheeling dealing. This goes on every day in politics. This is the way Federal prosecutors and Federal judges get appointed all the time. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You can’t get appointed to the Federal judiciary, or to the US Attorney’s Office without political juice, and an Ivy League Degree. The peoples court? The peoples justice system in the democratic Republic? Ha! Only the party elites get the best jobs. Welcome to China.
Dr. Taub asked his friend Silver to help find a job for his rebellious son Jonathan, an Ivy League grad who was still living at home with his parents slumming it on the Upper East Side. Dr. Taub was worried that Taub Jr. lacked a career and was more interested in playing bass guitar and writing a right wing blog. Bloggers get no respect. Blogging is a legitimate career choice. I would encourage Taub Jr. to quit his job at the OHEL and go back to blogging.
The Feds want to introduce evidence that Taub Jr. was a slacker at OHEL and didn’t cut the kosher gravy. The Feds want to introduce evidence of Taub’s poor job performance. Talk about getting way off topic. Everyone knows that Jewish organizations only employ friends and relatives of big donors. Most employees at Jewish non profit organizations couldn’t land a job anywhere else.
The Feds also want to introduce evidence that Silver helped Taub’s daughter Aimee Taub Bandler land a non-paying internship with New York Supreme Court Judge Martin Schoenfeld. Aimee eventually graduated from law school. Judge Schoenfeld submitted a letter of recommendation with the New York bar for Aimee. Aimee now works for a Wall Street equity firm. Aimee’s husband is Jonathan Bandler, a Yeshiva University graduate and criminal justice investigative reporter. Jonathan is not a blogger, but not everyone is cut out to write a blog.
If Silver gets convicted he needs to call the Donald and get a pardon. The Donald already pardoned fellow Jews Scooter Libby and Sholom Rubashkin. Sheldon Silver needs to make it to the top of the Donald’s pardon list before the Donald needs a pardon.