Should Steven Pigeon have been arrested sooner?

Some say they had suspicions years ago
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 21:22:40-04

There is a lot of political finger pointing surrounding Steven Pigeon's arrest. The political powerhouse was arrested Thursday and accused of bribing State Supreme Court Judge John Michalek. 

Some candidates now eyeing the Erie County district attorney seat are questioning why Pigeon wasn't investigated sooner. “It was clear to me and clear to other people that these crimes had occurred again, that he was a serial violated of the election law,” said former Erie County Prosecutor Mark Sacha.

Sacha's one of several candidates running for Erie County D.A. Sacha was an assistant district attorney in the office for more than two decades until he was fired in 2009. He said his termination was actually in retaliation over his concerns about Pigeon. “He's somebody that was allowed to exist because political bosses control the Erie County DA's office.”

Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty Jr. issued a statement in response to Sacha's claims. He pointed out that he has only held the position since January, and since then, he has worked to restore the public’s trust in government.

"That's why I created the county's first ever Public Integrity Unit and that's why I proposed a set of common sense ethics reforms to take power away from the political machine. My actions demonstrate to the public that I take these obligations seriously."

The state Attorney General's Office says it began investigating immediately after it received complaints from the county board of elections almost two years ago. But the charges now against Pigeon, including bribery and grand larceny, aren't related to those initial complaints. So Sacha wonders why Pigeon hasn't been brought up on election law charges as well. 

The Attorney General wouldn't say whether additional charges are possible. But he said the investigation isn’t over.

Meantime, the FBI is still investigating and federal charges are possible. “This is only one prong of the active investigation for the FBI,” said FBI Special Agent, Adam Cohen.