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Sol Wachtler, New York State's former chief judge, got his law license back yesterday, 14 years after he was convicted of blackmailing his ex-girlfriend.

Wachtler, 77, blamed his stalking of socialite Joy Silverman on a mental breakdown.

He spent 10 months in jail, writing a prison memoir in 1993 called "After the Madness." He was reinstated after he told a state panel he wants to do legal work for the poor and mentally ill.

"I'm delighted," Sol Wachtler said after his license was reinstated Tuesday. The former judge had told a state panel he hoped to do legal work for poor and mentally ill clients. He currently teaches at Touro College's Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, on Long Island.

Wachtler, now 77, was the Court of Appeals' top judge and a potential Republican candidate for governor when he was arrested in 1992. He was accused of harassing socialite and GOP fundraiser Joy Silverman after she ended their affair.


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