Longtime political operative G. Steven Pigeon, who is already charged with bribery, extortion and other counts in a separate investigation, now faces a felony election law complaint introduced Wednesday in State Supreme Court.
Pigeon, as well as associates David Pfaff and Kristy Mazurek, entered pleas of not guilty as they were read the complaints individually. State Supreme Court Justice Donald Cerio, who comes from the Syracuse judicial district, is presiding over this case.
"Three counts of violation of election law Section 14-126 Subdivision 5, which is a Class E felony on each one of those three counts," said Assistant Attorney General Susan Sadinsky, as she read the counts on behalf of the prosecution. "On the fourth count, it would be authoring a false instrument for filing in the first degree, also a Class E felony."
The charges stem from alleged illegal financial support of at least three local election campaigns. When asked for a plea, Pigeon declared, "absolutely not guilty." He did not comment further.
Representing Mazurek is attorney Joel Daniels. He spoke with reporters outside of the courtroom.
“The case will now be adjourned at least for a couple of months. We’ll figure out what the next steps will be, either the matter may be resolved. There will be some discussions, if not, most likely an indictment maybe returned. The case may be presented to a grand jury. We’re not sure,” stated Daniels.
In court to observe proceedings was former assistant Erie County District Attorney Mark Sacha, who told his bosses years ago that Pigeon was breaking the law. Sacha was fired from the DA's office.
He's satisfied that Pigeon has been charged but is disappointed that he's free on his own recognizance.
“This isn’t equal justice – what’s happening here. The entire system is working, in a way, to give special justice to Steve Pigeon and it has for ten years, so the fact that he finally go charged wouldn’t happen for the rest of us and it shouldn’t," remarked Sacha, who also questioned how Pigeon could afford prominent attorneys such as Paul Cambria and some of his partners if he's facing a $300,00 federal tax lien.
Outside the courtroom Sacha told reporters outside court "I told you so, ten years ago."
Mazurek and Pfaff were also released on their own recognizance.
Pigeon already faces felony counts of bribery, extortion and other counts in relation to a corruption case that resulted in indictments last summer. In that case, Pigeon is accused of conspiring with then-judge John Michalek in a mutually beneficial relationship. According to prosecutors, it involved Pigeon's assistance to secure jobs for Michalek's family members, securing a high-paid receivership position for a Pigeon associate and giving Pigeon confidential insight and influence in certain judicial decisions.