Ortt asks judge for dismissal of felony charges related to campaign finance indictment

Accused of three felonies
Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 20:02:21-04

State Sen. Rob Ortt, a North Tonawanda Republican who was indicted last week on campaign finance charges, has filed court papers asking a judge to dismiss the case. 

Court papers filed Tuesday by Albany criminal defense attorney Stephen Coffey claim that Ortt was denied "his right to provide the Grand Jury with 'relevant and competent evidence concerning the case under consideration' and in doing so, frustrated the purpose and the integrity of the Grand Jury."

The filings state that Ortt "was never shown or asked questions about either of the three periodic campaign disclosure reports" that he is accused of filing falsely.

Andrea Bozek, Ortt's spokeswoman, added in a written statement: “This is the first legal step in exposing Eric Schneiderman’s political and false charges. Rob and Meghan paid all appropriate taxes on the retainer and fully disclosed it on the only written instrument that he has ever been responsible for filing, his personal financial disclosure.”

Schneiderman's office issued a response to these claims, writing, “Mr. Ortt’s motion contains a number of errors and omissions that we will address in our response papers. We look forward to proving our felony corruption charges against Mr. Ortt in court.”

The indictments follow an investigation by the State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office into Ortt, former State Sen. George Maziarz, and former Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek.

Schneiderman says Ortt laundered political donations that were supposed to fund campaigns to personally enrich Ortt and his wife while he served as Mayor of North Tonawanda.

Schneiderman accuses them of using political consulting firms as "pass-through entities" to disguise the scheme.

According to the attorney general, Ortt took part in the illegal scheme "to pad his taxpayer-funded salary" in order to make up for a loss of $5,000 in salary when he moved from clerk and treasurer to North Tonawanda mayor.

Bozek says the senator's wife was hired to perform graphic design work, but Schneiderman says "she performed no actual work." The alleged payments from 2010 to 2014 added up to approximately $21,500.

Ortt last week pleaded not guilty to all three felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing. He is due back in court in May. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one and one-third to four years on each count.