State Supreme Court Justice Michalek resigns after admitting to receiving bribe

Former State Supreme Court Justice John Michalek stands with his attorney Carrie H. Cohen in front of State Supreme Court Judge Donald F. Cerio, Jr in Buffalo Wednesday, June 29, 2016. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former State Supreme Court Justice John Michalek has pleaded guilty to felony counts of offering a false instrument and bribe receiving.

Michalek had his cases taken away from him and reassigned after investigators tried to figure out if he sought the help of Steve Pigeon to secure a job for two relatives. Michalek later confirmed that he did this during his guilty plea.

Steve Pigeon is one of western New York’s most powerful Democratic operatives.

Michalek also admitted to naming a Pigeon-recommended attorney to a case even though the attorney was not on a specific list and had no expertise.

Pigeon and two others had their homes raided over alleged violations related to campaign finances.

On Wednesday, before pleading guilty, Michalek resigned from his position while agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.

“Today’s proceedings expose a corrupt, multiyear scheme to use political favors to buy off a sitting state judge,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “We will continue to root out public corruption wherever we find it. Our public corruption investigation is ongoing.”

Michalek was released on his own recognizance and will be sentenced on September 21.

Pigeon will be in court Thursday to face charges. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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