BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The indictments against NYS Sen. Robert Ortt have been dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Judge Peter Lynch dropped all of the indictments made by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman against Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) Tuesday.
The indictments alleged that Ortt had used campaign funds to pay for a job for his wife, which she never worked. Ortt was charged with three counts of offering a false instrument for filing. A grand jury decided to indict Ortt.
“The Court has inspected the Grand Jury minutes and finds that the evidence before the Grand Jury was legally insufficient to establish the offenses charged…. it is this court’s view that there was no valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could lead a rational Grand Juror to issue an indictment in this case,” Lynch wrote in a statement.
Ortt issued a statement on the decision, calling it “welcome news”.
“This quick and forthright dismissal exposed Eric Schneiderman for the power hungry, political opportunist that he is,” Ortt said. “It is my hope that this ruling today will force Mr. Schneiderman to think twice before concocting baseless charges to serve his own radical progressive political agenda again.”
Ortt added that he and his wife “look forward to receiving a personal apology from Schneiderman”.
A representative from Schneiderman’s office said Tuesday that the Attorney General’s office disagrees with the decision, adding that they are considering their options.
“Nothing in today’s opinion changes the fact that Meghan Ortt received money for a politically-connected no-show job,” the statement says. Only in Albany would a Senator argue that receiving money for a politically-connected no-show job isn’t a crime.”
Schneiderman’s office also indicted former state senator George Maziarz, accusing him of skimming more than $100,000 from his campaign coffers to make sexual harassment claims within his office disappear. The judge in Maziarz’ trial upheld the charges, and a trial is scheduled for Aug. 21.