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Former County Attorney Edward P. Perlman has been retained by the Niagara County Republican Committee to represent the Niagara County Legislature's majority caucus against a Democratic Party lawsuit charging the caucus meetings are illegal.

Two weeks ago, the Democrats sued the county and the 13 members of the majority caucus -- nine Republicans, three Democrats and a Conservative. The six "regular" Democrats allege that closed-door party caucuses are allowed under state law only if members of one party are involved.

Majority Leader Malcolm A. Needler said James L. Magavern of Buffalo, who was paid $1,500 by the county in January for an opinion that the caucuses were legal, has been retained to represent the county in the suit. The county Democratic chairman, Charles J. Naughton, will argue the case for the Democrats.

Perlman said he and Magavern will file a response to the suit by the end of the week. They face a Monday deadline to respond.

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