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Pigeon gets hearing to see evidence of alleged crimes

Political operative G. Steven Pigeon wants a hearing into the newest and latest round of criminal charges against him.

In a brief session in Buffalo federal court Monday, defense attorney Paul J. Cambria Jr. asked for a preliminary hearing to evaluate the government's evidence of a crime and Pigeon's alleged role in it.

Pigeon, accused of soliciting an illegal contribution to the 2014 re-election campaign of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, did not appear in court but has said publicly that he's the victim of a political witch hunt.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael G. Roemer ordered the hearing be held June 15.

The FBI, which led the investigation into Pigeon, claims the former Erie County Democratic Party chairman illegally solicited a $25,000 contribution to the Cuomo campaign from one of his clients, a Montreal-based internet gambling company.

Investigators also claim Pigeon received $388,000 in lobbying fees from the company during a five-year period ending in 2015.

Latest Pigeon charges involve donation to Cuomo's 2014 campaign

The federal complaint filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Bonanno also accuses him of conspiring with other unnamed individuals to hide the true source of the contribution to Cuomo.

Campaign finance records list the $25,000 contributor as Marlon Goldstein, a Hollywood, Fla., lawyer, but the FBI says the money really came from Goldstein's client - Amaya Gaming Group CEO David Baazov, a Canadian.

Pigeon, who faces up to five years in prison, acknowledges soliciting the contribution while arranging a Manhattan fundraising event for the governor, but says he followed all election laws.

In an interview with The Buffalo News last week, he accused state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of  “prosecutorial misconduct” and suggested the new federal charges amount to "piling on."

Schneiderman is prosecuting Pigeon in two other cases involving allegations of bribery, extortion and election law violations.

Cambria also insists Pigeon’s actions were legal and that the contribution, and where it came from, is well known to Cuomo campaign officials.

 

 

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