The former prosecutor accusing District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III of giving a pass to a political ally is appealing the dismissal of his civil suit against Sedita.
Mark A. Sacha claims the judge overseeing his wrongful-termination case – he was fired in 2009 after going public with his criticism of Sedita – erred in dismissing the lawsuit last week.
“It goes against the public’s right to know about government corruption,” Sacha said of the ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.
In his dismissal, Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny stopped short of answering the question at the crux of Sacha’s lawsuit – did Sedita give a pass from prosecution to political operative G. Steven Pigeon. – but nevertheless dismissed his whistle-blower suit.
In ruling against Sacha, Skretny found that Sacha’s public criticism of Sedita’s relationship with Pigeon was not protected by the First Amendment or state whistle-blower law.
The ruling represents a victory for Sedita in his three-year legal battle with Sacha, the former prosecutor who questioned Sedita’s political dealings with Pigeon, a former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman.
Sacha claimed that while he was investigating Pigeon, the political operative helped orchestrate a series of endorsements that allowed Sedita to win election as district attorney.
Sacha has claimed from Day One that Pigeon’s political and personal relationship with Sedita and his predecessor, Frank Clark, is the reason they passed on prosecuting Pigeon on charges of election law violations. “There’s been an injustice done and not just to me and my family, but the public as well,” Sacha said.
Sedita and Clark have both repeatedly denied the allegations. Both have said they viewed Pigeon as a witness, not a target, during their investigation of Paul T. Clark, a 2007 candidate for county executive, and have suggested that Sacha is nothing more than a disgruntled former employee.
“The district attorney does not wish to comment because the summary dismissal of his frivolous and meritless lawsuit has already caused Mark Sacha enough humiliation,” said Adam W. Perry, Sedita’s lawyer.
Sacha’s suit detailed Pigeon’s alleged involvement in laundering a $10,000 contribution that allegedly came from the campaign of former County Executive Joel A. Giambra to Paul T. Clark’s unsuccessful 2007 campaign for county executive.
Paul Clark – no relation to Frank Clark – agreed to a misdemeanor plea deal in the case, but Sacha alleged that both Sedita and Frank Clark were afraid to pursue charges because of Pigeon’s power in local politics.