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LOCKPORT – The criminal case against Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven C. Richards has been reassigned after State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. recused himself, court officials said Wednesday.

The administrative office for the Eighth Judicial District confirmed that Kloch had backed out of the case. An official said Kloch did not have to give a reason.

The case has been reassigned to State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns, whose office said most of the pretrial matters would likely be heard in Burns’ Buffalo courtroom. However, any plea or trial would be held somewhere in Niagara County.

The state Attorney General’s Office obtained a 28-count grand jury indictment against Richards in October, accusing him of using town employees and equipment to help his auto repair business since 2001. All but four of the counts are misdemeanors. Richards has pleaded not guilty.