Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said Silver would be retried. Until recently, the office was headed by Preet Bharara.
"In litigations you often have a number of steps: Lower court finds this, there's an appeal, it gets overturned", the former state attorney general continued.
Rebecca Roiphe, a professor at New York Law School, said McDonnell might make it harder for prosecutors to retry the case because of this.
Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel of the Second Circuit in Manhattan, Judge José A. Cabranes noted that although "we recognize that many would view the facts adduced at Silver's trial with distaste, the question presented to us, however, is not how a jury would likely view the evidence presented by the government".
One good government advocate, Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner, quickly criticized the latest development.
"This is very clear and outrageous conduct", Lerner said.
The lawmaker was accused of masking the payments from public scrutiny by disguising them as income from what he claimed was a personal injury law practice, according to prosecutors.
Both Silver's and the Skeloses convictions were the culmination of a campaign against corruption in Albany led by Preet Bharara, the former USA attorney in Manhattan. At least not after the guidance the Supreme Court had handed down in the McDonnell case, which found the justices grappling with what counts as an "official act" under federal anti-bribery statute.
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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.
"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. "I think given the importance of the case, in the history of NY and the long litany of corruption that's been exposed in Albany its very important for the US attorney to try this case again".
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver walks towards his vehicle after his arraignment in federal court on January 22, 2014.
McDonnell, once a rising star in Republican politics, was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2014. Dean and Adam Skelos and Silver have all been free on bail pending the outcome of their appeals.
Kelly Kramer, a white-collar criminal defense attorney at the Mayer Brown law firm, said that Silver's conviction had always been considered "one of the most vulnerable" after the Supreme Court's decision on McDonnell.
Steven Molo and Joel Cohen, lawyers for Silver, said in a statement: "We are grateful the court saw it our way and reversed the conviction".
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY declined to comment.