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Fitzpatrick conducts himself with integrity

There has been much recent chatter about the Moreland Commission and, specifically, whether the governor and/or his staff inappropriately influenced it. The purpose of this correspondence is not to comment upon that but to instead address the suggestion that Onondaga County District Attorney and Moreland Commission Co-chairman William Fitzpatrick acted dishonorably.

It is crucially important to begin by noting the monumental challenge encountered by Fitzpatrick. He and his co-chairmen were called upon to supervise a commission tasked with making recommendations designed to identify the mechanics of political corruption and eliminate it. Additionally, the commission was empowered to investigate suspected corrupt conduct and, where appropriate, make referrals for criminal prosecution.

The chairs also had to regularly report to the governor and the attorney general, and regularly deal with the theories, suggestions and agendas of 25 commissioners and many staff lawyers, all while examining a broad swath of questionable conduct, all on an impossibly compressed schedule.

Fitzpatrick has lauded the accomplishments of the commission. Time will tell whether his assessment is accurate. What is unassailably inaccurate and unfair is the suggestion that he acted dishonorably.

I witnessed Fitzpatrick work tirelessly in an effort to manage competing egos and agendas in a good-faith effort to accomplish something meaningful. I am not saying I agreed with all of his opinions, judgments and statements. What I am saying is this: He conducted himself with professionalism, decency and integrity.

I have publicly stated that I do not wish to comment upon the controversy surrounding the Moreland Commission, especially in the face of an ongoing federal investigation. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has an important mission to accomplish and I will not say or do anything to jeopardize it.

Frank A. Sedita, III

Erie County District Attorney

President, District Attorneys

Association of the State of New York