From the Morning Memo:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio needed a friend in Albany and this year he drew Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

At odds with Senate Republicans after he sought to oust them from power in the Senate, de Blasio’s natural ally in the Legislature is Silver, a Democrat from lower Manhattan.

Unfortunately for de Blasio, Silver is embroiled in a bribery and kickback scandal as he now faces five counts of corruption and fraud.

De Blasio on Thursday defended Silver as a man of integrity who has helped to do a lot for the city.

“I think there’s two separate concepts there,” de Blaso told reporters. “I think he has a right to due process. I really think that’s something we always need to affirm. Allegations are allegations. Charges are charges. And there has to be a process to determine the outcome. I think, separately, it’s a true statement – he’s done a lot for New York City, and I value that certainly.”

And he differentiated between the charges former Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican, faces and Silver’s legal troubles.

“I think in Michael Grimm’s case, we saw a pattern of questionable practices over a long period of time, and it played out. I think, in my experience with Shelly Silver, I’ve seen integrity and public service,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio still has to get his agenda through the Legislature, of course. A number of major issues impacting New York City are before Albany state lawmakers this year, including an extension of rent control protections and mayoral control of New York City schools.