It looks like the former king of Niagara County politics won’t be going to prison after all.
Former State Sen. George D. Maziarz has pleaded guilty this afternoon in an Albany courtroom to a misdemeanor
Maziarz, Republican of Newfane, entered a guilty plea to the charge of filing a false instrument.
The Buffalo News first reported the news and also said Maziarz is likely to pay a $1,000 fine and avoid jail time.
A year ago, prosecutors charged Maziarz with five felony election law violations, saying he took part in an illegal pass-through scheme by which a former aide was paid secretly with campaign contributions after the aide was accused of sexual harassment.
Had he been found guilty of those charges, Maziarz could have faced between 7 to 20 years in prison, but such a sentence was unlikely. He was slated to stand trial next week.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a statement on the plea, saying, “Today’s guilty plea and full admission sends a strong message to every elected official that if you abuse the public trust, you will be rooted out, and there will be a public accounting of your crime. This case stands for a very simple but important principle, which is that you cannot use your campaign account as a slush fund to avoid public scrutiny. No one, not even George Maziarz, can use campaign accounts to deceive the public, flout the law, and pay off friends.”
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