CHEEKTOWAGA, NY - A Cheektowaga town prosecutor has had her duties revoked and it all has to do with a letter she wrote publicly criticizing the Erie County district attorney. The comments were made in a recent opinion letter that appeared in The Buffalo News.
Kathleen McDonald had been a Cheektowaga prosecutor for seven years. Charlie Markel recently lost his job as a town council member when he pleaded guilty to illegally accepting unemployment benefits.
Earlier this week, McDonald wrote a letter to the editor of The Buffalo News, supporting Markel and criticizing Sedita.
"In this case, it's not so much the freedom to make those remarks, but it indicates to me a certain level of prosecution that I don't share," Sedita said.
In the letter, McDonald called Markel "honest" and "sincere." And said Sedita was "overzealous" in handling Markel's case. The former councilman was offered a plea deal and was ordered to pay back the money he improperly claimed.
Sedita maintains that Markel's case was handled similarly to many other offenses.
"We've had dozens and dozens of these cases, throughout the years, this is how we generally handle these matters," he added.
McDonald's comments prompted Sedita to write a letter of his own to McDonald's supervisor, the Cheektowaga town attorney -- stripping McDonald of her duties as a prosecutor.
Sedita has this authority because prosecutors at local municipalities in Erie County are appointed by the district attorney's office to handle traffic and vehicle violations.
"I could understand where he was coming from, I was surprised I guess that she had done it and that it was happening that quickly, I didn't have any input in it with the district attorney," said Kevin Schenk, the town's attorney.
Schenk says this is the first time in Cheektowaga, a prosecutor has been removed.
Town officials say that they've never had an issue with McDonald in the past.
2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval spoke to McDonald off camera Wednesday. She says that Sedita's public comments about her have been "vindictive" and "slanderous."
McDonald says she wrote the letter as a resident, not as a prosecutor and that she stands by her support for Markel, but should've kept Sedita's name out of the letter.
According to Sedita, as district attorney, he's removed a local prosecutor before in the past and refused to allow two other prosecutors to represent local municipalities.