A well-known and well-connected Western New York political operative has pleaded guilty to bribery.
Steve Pigeon admitted to bribing former State Supreme Court Justin John Michalek.
Officials from the New York State Attorney General’s office say Pigeon and Michalek exchanged emails and text messages which show Pigeon offering Michalek help in obtaining employment and appointments to positions for two of his family members. In helping Michalek obtain a judicial appointment to the Supreme Court, Appellate Devision, Fourth Judicial Department.
During the same time, prosecutors say Pigeon engaged in communications with Michalek concerning multiple lawsuits pending before Michalek. They say Pigeon was able to provide input and advice to the justice.
“As we detailed, Steve Pigeon orchestrated a brazen, multiyear scheme to bribe a sitting judge – demonstrating flagrant contempt for the rule of law and the interests of New Yorkers. Now, he’s being brought to justice,” Attorney General Barbara Underwood said. “We have zero tolerance for public corruption. New Yorkers deserve to be able to trust the integrity of their officials – and my office will continue to do everything in our power to hold accountable those who violate that trust.”
Michalek pleaded guilty in June 2016 — in connection with the same scheme — for receiving bribes from Pigeon and filing false documents with the State Office of Court Administration.
Pigeon, a former Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman, faces up to a year behind bars when he’s sentenced in December. He will also lose his law license.