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Former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman G. Steven Pigeon andone of his associates appeared in a Buffalo court on Thursday where they entered pleas of not guilty to charges of “illegal campaign coordination.”

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week that an Erie County grand jury indictedPigeon and his associates Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff on charges that they “knowingly and willfully” engaged in illegal campaign coordination while acting on behalf of theWestern New York Progressive Caucus and Western New York Freedom.

Prosecutors claim Pigeon and Mazurek created the Western New York Progressive Caucus for the purpose of electing their preferred candidates in an Erie County primary race and so that many of the candidates funded by the group were relying almost entirely on the political committee for all campaign related expenditures.

According to the felony complaint, very little campaign money was raised by the candidates themselves.

As an example, Schneiderman’s office said one candidate raised just $125 between July 27, 2013 and September 10, 2013, while WNYPC received approximately $283,000 in contributions and spent extensively in support of the candidate’s campaign resulting in the vast majority of the candidate’s campaign related costs being borne by WNYPC rather than the candidate’s committee.

As the original felony complaint also alleged, the defendants on behalf of WNYPC sought input from two candidates regarding campaign literature and arranged for them to appear at a photo shoot paid for by WNYPC. Prosecutors allege that WNYPC also paid other expenses on behalf of one of the candidates that exceeded the $1,476.50 contribution limit of that race by over $15,000; and paid nearly $12,000 worth of expenses over the $2,192.70 contribution limit for the second candidate’s race.

Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of four years if convicted on either count. The indictment stems from a joint investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General, the New York State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the New York State Board of Elections.

In addition to the new charges filed Dec. 1, Pigeon is currently under indictment for the crimes of bribery in the second degree, bribery in the third degree, six counts of rewarding official misconduct in the second degree, and grand larceny in the third degree.

The charges arise from conduct involving former State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek, who resigned from the bench after pleading guilty to the felony charges of bribe receiving in the third degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree on June 29, 2016.

Pigeon is also under federal indictment for conspiracy, wire fraud, bribery, and travel act charges. The case is pending before Federal Magistrate Michael J. Roemer.

Pigeon has previously suggested that all charges against him are politically motivated. His attorney, Paul Cambria, has said that he looks forward to challenging the prosecutors’ case in court.
mulberry sale john lewis associate plead not guilty in case