Steve Pigeon, judge sentenced on bribery charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ/WHEC) — Steve Pigeon, a long-time Democratic Party power broker, was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison on a state bribery charge.

Pigeon pleaded guilty to the charge in 2018, but his sentencing was delayed multiple times. His state prison sentence will run concurrently with the federal sentence he received a day prior.

Pigeon was charged along with former State Supreme Court Judge John Michalek. Prosecutors said the two were engaged in favor swapping. Michalek, who also pleaded guilty to state charges, sought Pigeon’s help getting jobs for family members. Emails obtained by investigators also indicated the judge wanted Pigeon to put in a good word with Governor Andrew Cuomo about a nomination to be an Appellate Court judge.

Michalek was sentenced to 364 days for the bribery charge and four months for filing a false instrument, as well as a $500 fine. He will not serve time in state prison and will return to court in September for further proceedings. He was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom but was later released until the September hearing.

Pigeon showed up to court Thursday in a blue prison jumpsuit and shackles. He 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 a corruption case.

Paul Cambria, his attorney for three cases, argued in federal court that Pigeon should have received only probation based on his previous supervised time while awaiting trial after his arrest. 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."

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

Pigeon also faces the potential of life in state prison if he’s convicted on charges that he sexually abused a young girl in 2016.

He 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."