When Assemblywoman Amy Paulin was called as a witness in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial last month, she had expected to testify about general Assembly procedures during Silver’s time in control.
And that she did — until Silver’s defense team cross-examined her, probing deep into her husband’s finances in an attempt to show some potential conflicts are unavoidable.
Since then, Paulin, D-Scarsdale, said she has sold off her stock in Merck & Co., the major pharmaceutical company at the center of Silver’s attorney’s cross-examination. In an interview Wednesday with public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” Paulin said she wanted to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“You don’t want to give any kind of appearance,” Paulin said. “I get that it could be, and I just didn’t want to have that. So that’s why I wanted to put it behind me.”
During her testimony, Silver’s lead attorney, Steven Molo, questioned Paulin about her husband’s stake in Merck, which totaled between $100,000 and $105,000, according to her financial disclosure forms.
During his questioning, Molo noted Paulin supported a bill that would’ve required school children to receive a vaccine that Merck produced.
In the radio interview Wednesday, Paulin said it’s time for the Legislature to act on reforms to the state’s ethics laws and campaign-finance rules.
“It’s time to move on and it’s time to reform this place so that someone like me who doesn’t want to violate anything, that rules are in place so we don’t,” she said.
A jury convicted Silver on Monday of seven felonies related to a pair of schemes that allowed him to illegally collect $4 million in referral fees from law firms.