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Sacco gets new pretrial date

Former Town of Niagara Supervisor James A. Sacco appeared in Town Court Tuesday, receiving a new date for a pretrial conference to address his arrest on charges he stole political signs on election day.

Sacco, who appeared before Town Justice John J. Mattio, faces charges of petit larceny in the case.

He is scheduled to appear again before Mattio at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in Wheatfield Town Hall, 2800 Church Road.

District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III assigned the case to Wheatfield Town Court since both justices in the Town of Niagara said they don't want to try Sacco in their courts.

Niagara Town Police Chief H. James Suitor said a witness saw Sacco at about 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 7 -- Election Day -- taking at least one of the signs from the 4400 block of Military Road on property owned by National Grid.

The signs belonged to Supervisor Steven C. Richards, who was not a candidate in the election.

Councilman Robert A. Clark initially faced charges of fifth-degree possession of stolen property and petit larceny in the case. He won election to the Town Board the same day he was accused of taking the signs.

Richards said Clark later apologized to him and he would not press charges against him. But he also said he hoped Sacco was "held accountable both criminally and civilly for his actions against my family and I during the last town election."

Sacco, 71, of Ralph Court, served as town supervisor from 1988 to 1996. He won the job in a race against Richards' father, Cal Richards, and served two four-year terms before losing to Steven C. Richards in 1995.

In court Tuesday, Sacco again denied taking the sign, and Mattio released him on his own recognizance.

District Attorney Robert F. LaDuca Jr. asked Sacco's attorney Robert Viola if Sacco would be willing to accept a plea deal and say he was guilty of disorderly conduct in the matter.

Sacco, however, said he would accept no such deal.

"I'm not copping out. I'm not copping out," Sacco said following the hearing. "I did nothing wrong."


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