As Sheldon Silver faced criminal charges in Manhattan last week, other Assembly Democrats gathered in a closed-door session in Albany to mull his future — but his eyes and ears were still in the room.
The Thursday meeting was supposed to be lawmakers-only, but Silver's longtime chief of staff Judy Rapfogel was allowed to stay, a source told The Post, calling her presence inappropriate.
And when lawmakers emerged from the 90-minute powwow, they announced their support for Silver.
"She is extremely powerful. People are afraid to mess with her," a political insider said of Rapfogel, who earned $172,211 in 2013, more than double the salary of an Assembly member.
On Monday, Assembly Dems will hear from Silver himself — at a closed-door conference.
Even candidates who wish to succeed him will grant him the courtesy, an Assembly Democratic insider said.
Rapfogel's husband, William, is a close pal of Silver's who himself landed in hot water. He was sentenced to 3¹/₃ to 10 years in prison in July after pleading guilty to running a $9 million kickback scam at the non-profit he headed, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which gets millions in taxpayer money from the state.