Attorney General Eric Schneiderman outlined the charges against Steve Pigeon Thursday at a news conference, just hours after the longtime political operative was charged in a nine-count indictment.
"The deceit, the horse-trading, the 'I'll scratch your back and you'll scratch mine' status quo has really got to end here and now," Schneiderman said. Pigeon is charged with two counts of bribery, six counts of rewarding official misconduct and grand larceny.
The investigation started with a referral based on information from the Erie County Board of Elections and the Erie County Attorney's office, he said. Emails between Pigeon and Michalek seized in May 28, 2015, during raids at the homes of Pigeon and two other people "make it very clear what was going on."
"The facts alleged in these cases are exactly why so many New Yorkers have lost faith in government institutions and in their representatives," said Schneiderman.
Authorities made it clear at the news conference that the investigation into Pigeon was not done.
"This is only one prong of an active investigation," added Adam S. Cohen, the Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo's FBI office, at the news conference.
In addition, the Office of Court Administration will be taking a larger look at cases Michalek ruled on, Schneiderman said.
Schneiderman blasted the alleged conduct of Pigeon and Michalek. "For a judge to sell their office for favors, for benefits, for money, is something that I think should certainly offend all American lawyers," he said. "This is an extremely disturbing, very un-American scheme."
Here's a statement he put out beforehand:
“As we allege in today’s indictment, Steve Pigeon engaged in a multiyear scheme to bribe a sitting state judge in an effort to win access and favors for his clients and associates. I will not stand for this kind of brazen contempt for the rule of law and the interests of everyday New Yorkers. Anyone who breaches the public trust will be held accountable by my office. Our investigation is ongoing.”
Here's Schneiderman's remarks at his press conference Thursday: