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Letter: Sedita is being pilloried unjustly for firing Sacha

Sedita is being pilloried unjustly for firing Sacha

Coverage by The News of the Erie County district attorney’s race in the context of the Michalek/Pigeon indictments has obscured the truth and created false controversy.

When Frank Sedita III ran for district attorney in 2008, he was the long-serving chief of that office’s Homicide Bureau. After winning office, Sedita’s first official acts included appointing veteran prosecutor Michael Flaherty Jr. as first assistant and demoting bureau chief Mark Sacha. Sacha then publicly accused Sedita of corrupt failure to honor his recommendation to prosecute Steve Pigeon for election fraud. Sedita promptly fired him and Sacha sued in federal court, claiming he was terminated for blowing the whistle on his boss.

When deposed in his lawsuit, Sacha admitted that he hadn’t recommended Pigeon’s prosecution until after his demotion.

The district court dismissed Sacha’s complaint, finding that he had no case.

After this stinging loss, Sacha went to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, where he lost again. The court declared his actions prejudicial to the administration of the District Attorney’s Office and his termination “fully warranted.”

Sacha’s judgment about election law violations proved no better than his assessment of his lawsuit.

Steve Pigeon’s electioneering activities were assessed by a prior New York attorney general, the Albany district attorney and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. None brought charges.

After two years of investigation, current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman indicted Pigeon on bribery-related charges, not election fraud. Moreover, the events alleged happened four years after Sedita fired Sacha.

Sacha’s attempts to slander Frank Sedita have been eviscerated by two courts and the actions of four prosecutors. The News is abetting his effort to advance his current political ambitions with the same discredited claims.

Joseph V. Sedita