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Former Erie County Democratic Party chair gets 4 months in prison term for political corruption

Steve Pigeon faces more legal consequences with corruption and sex abuse cases.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A man who once carried a lot of clout in political circles in Erie County and beyond is now facing time behind bars - possibly in a federal prison camp.

Steve Pigeon has been the subject of numerous investigations tied to politics and even the alleged sexual abuse of a child. On Wednesday, he went before a federal judge for sentencing in one of those settled cases 

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s years here in Buffalo and Erie County and around the state, Steve Pigeon was a real political power broker as the Erie County Democratic Party Chairman who once supported former Governor Cuomo. But now a judge says he is in debt, owes significant back taxes, and can no longer practice law or work in politics.     

After his party chair role, Pigeon became a lobbyist and political consultant. But now here in 2022 he faces four months in federal prison and there could be more legal consequences to come for Pigeon.   

During this first sentencing round in Federal Court on Wednesday, Pigeon drew a four-month prison term for his guilty plea to political corruption and a conspiracy charge.

He admitted to the court that in 2014 he tried to give a $25,000 illegal campaign contribution from a Canadian citizen to a New York state elected official which The Buffalo News identified as Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo's campaign rejected it. But then Pigeon says he funneled that contribution through a US employee of the Canadian. And then he and the Canadian client attended a 2014 New York City political fundraiser for that state elected official again said to be Cuomo. 

Paul Cambria his attorney on three cases, argued for Pigeon to just get probation based on his previous supervised time while awaiting trial after he was previously arrested. Federal prosecutors sought six months in prison. 

Cambria later told reporters, "We felt that the sentence was not unexpected. It wasn't what we or the government wanted. Four months as opposed to five years - which obviously the charge carries. So under the circumstances, it's an appropriate sentence."

Pigeon is expected to be in state court for sentencing Thursday morning in a separate case in which he admitted to bribing former state court judge John Michalek who resigned. Prosecutors say that case involved political favors swapped between the men.  

Cambria says, "Obviously he wants to get all this stuff behind him. So one at a time. This one and two more to go."

Then more recently Pigeon was accused of sexually abusing a young girl in 2016. 

Pigeon has claimed he was set up by someone in that particular case. Cambria was quick to claim, "There is no sexual abuse. He's denied it vehemently. That case is going to trial."

  

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