Grand Jury to be impaneled in Pigeon case

BY TONY FARINA

We have learned that State Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman is expected to impanel a special grand jury in Buffalo on Monday (May 9) with the sole purpose of investigating former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon’s political activities, a continuing probe that follows the seizure nearly a year ago of computers and a cell phone belonging to Pigeon during a surprise raid at his waterfront residence.

Sources familiar with the Schneiderman investigation say as many as four judges are linked to the case who reportedly received emails from Pigeon which were recovered by investigators with the seizure of Pigeon’s computers and cell phone last May although at least one legal source suggested prosecutors may be reaching to make anything out of the emails reportedly sent by Pigeon.

Pigeon has been a frequent target of his political enemies over the years but has never been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in connection with his campaign fundraising activities for candidates and causes he supported.  Pigeon certainly has had a less than friendly relationship with Atty. Gen. Schneiderman since the two clashed when Schneiderman was serving in the State Senate during the 2009 coup led by Pigeon and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano that briefly controlled the chamber and was opposed vigorously by Schneiderman. 

Pigeon could not be reached for comment on Wednesday but his attorney, former Atty. Gen. Dennis Vacco, declined comment on the rumors swirling in connection with the Schneiderman investigation that includes the names of several local judges.

We have learned that at least one local lawyer was contacted by an FBI agent from the Buffalo office last week concerning emails involving State Supreme Court Justice John Michalek who has reportedly retained legal counsel in the case as has his clerk although a spokesman for the attorney general declined comment on Wednesday in connection with the investigation.

There have been reports circulating that Schneiderman would be coming to Buffalo in the matter in the next several days but his office said on Wednesday that the attorney general does not have a Buffalo trip on his schedule in the short term.

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