The years-long litigation against former Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Steve Pigeon has ended.
“It’s over,” defense attorney Paul Cambria said. “We’ve wrapped everything up. Three indictments are gone.”
Pigeon took a plea deal Tuesday and admitted to soliciting and coordinating an illegal $25,000 campaign donation from a foreign national through a straw donor.
“When it comes to the election process generally and to campaign contributions in particular, transparency is really the primary tool that we use to eliminate graft and dishonesty,” U.S. Attorney, Western District of New York, J.P. Kennedy said.
Federal prosecutors originally brought these charges against Pigeon in May 2017, but subsequently dropped them, instead moving forward with charges in which he was accused of bribing a judge.
“We felt that it would be appropriate to include this additional criminal conduct and to hold him responsible for that and that’s what happened today,” Kennedy said.
Cambria believed it was a good disposition for his client.
“There are few people in the world who can withstand three separate indictments and three separate trials and so that had a lot to do with resolving the case the way we did,” he said.
Although not named in the indictment, the contribution in question went to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 reelection campaign. The campaign has maintained the public records make it clear it did nothing wrong.
The U.S. Attorney would not comment about the possibility of further action related to the matter but Pigeon’s attorney Paul Cambria says cooperation with any ongoing investigation is not a stipulation of his deal.
“If there were, we wouldn’t discuss that anyway. I mean that isn’t the kind of thing that you talk about in news conferences but no, we don’t have any obligations at this point as we sit here so we’ll go forward,” Cambria said.
Pigeon faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine although federal sentencing guidelines suggest 10 to 16 months. Cambria, while not conceding his client will serve any time, said he believes there’s a good chance the state and federal sentences could be served simultaneously.