Political operative in judge case due in court

Posted at 9:32 AM, Jun 30, 2016

A former state Supreme Court judge has pleaded guilty to receiving bribes and resigned from the bench.

Justice John Michalek appeared in state Supreme Court in Buffalo Wednesday. Investigators say he accepted tickets to hockey games and a political fundraiser from Democratic political operative G. Steven Pigeon while Pigeon had an interest in several civil cases before him.

An indictment says Michalek also asked Pigeon to find jobs for two relatives and sought his recommendation for an appellate court appointment, all the while keeping Pigeon apprised of developments in relevant cases.

Pigeon's attorney, Paul Cambria, says Pigeon "steadfastly maintains his innocence." Pigeon is expected to be charged Thursday.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the case exposes a "multiyear scheme to use political favors to buy off a sitting state judge."