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New York speaker to temporarily cede power as he fights corruption charges

New York speaker to temporarily cede power as he fights corruption charges
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, 70, was arrested on public corruption charges and accused of using his position to obtain millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

The speaker of the New York state Assembly plans to temporarily cede power to a small group of top lawmakers as he fights federal corruption charges.

A spokesman for Speaker Sheldon Silver says the Manhattan Democrat plans to brief Democratic members of the Assembly on his intentions Monday.

Silver spokesman Michael Whyland says the speaker is not stepping down but plans to appoint the lawmakers to take on responsibilities including state budget negotiations. He would not name the specific lawmakers.

Whyland says the arrangement will give Silver the "flexibility" he needs to defend himself against the charges.

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Silver was arrested Thursday. He faces federal charges that he took nearly $4 million in payoffs and kickbacks. Silver has said he is confident he will be vindicated.

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