ALBANY – George Maziarz will be back in an Albany courtroom Friday morning as his lawyer seeks a new way to dismiss the corruption case against the former political power broker and state senator from Niagara County.
E. Stewart Jones, a Troy lawyer representing Maziarz, said he expects to make brief remarks to Judge Peter Lynch in Albany County asking him to toss the case against the former senator from Newfane.
Lynch last week dismissed the indictment in the corruption case that state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman brought against state Sen. Rob Ortt, a North Tonawanda Republican who was elected to the seat Maziarz gave up when he decided against a re-election bid in 2014.
The motion to dismiss paperwork that Jones filed several weeks ago was not publicly available at the courthouse and Jones declined to provide a copy. Jones said he plans to ask Lynch for a hearing that could lead to a dismissal of the case. Jones stressed that his legal claims are different from the dismissal motion successfully made in the Ortt case.
“The point is to ask the judge to consider an evidentiary hearing on our claim that there has been selective and discriminatory enforcement of the criminal laws,’’ Jones said of his request. He said he has presented evidence to the judge of “one or more” instances in which prosecutors did not bring cases against people who allegedly stole money from campaign accounts.
Jones would not identify the cases he is bringing to Lynch’s attention.
The attorney general alleges Maziarz used a “pass-through scheme” that directed money from his Senate campaign account and the Niagara County GOP to make “secret campaign payments” to a former Senate staff who left the state payroll in the midst of a sexual harassment case.
The charges against Maziarz say he arranged for nearly $100,000 in payments to the former staffer that were hidden from public disclosure about the real recipient of the money in five separate campaign disclosure filings made with the state elections board.
Maziarz has denied the charges.
Maziarz was indicted along with Ortt back in March on alleged election law violations.
Critics have accused Schneiderman of engaging in partisan witch hunts and Maziarz’s dismissal request is said to note how the attorney general, a Democrat, focused prosecution on the former Republican senator from Niagara County.
But Schneiderman’s office noted top lawyers from the attorney general’s integrity bureau were in court Thursday in a corruption case against a Democratic New York City Council member and has a felony corruption case pending against G. Steven Pigeon, the former Erie County Democratic Party chairman. Schneiderman has prosecuted other Democrats on corruption-related matters, including Shirley Huntley, a former state senator from Queens.
Lynch has already set an Aug. 21 trial date in the case against Maziarz, who became a lobbyist after retiring from the state Senate.
A Schneiderman spokeswoman said the office is preparing for the trial.
“We look forward to proving our felony charges against Mr. Maziarz in court next month,’’ said Amy Spitalnick, the Schneiderman spokeswoman.
Lynch last month dismissed a separate motion by Maziarz’s lawyers to have the case tossed on a number of legal grounds, including claims that there were “defective” grand jury proceedings.