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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

NY GOP accuses state AG of ‘witch hunts’ after charges dropped

Ed Cox, chairman of the New York Republican

Ed Cox, chairman of the New York Republican State Committee, speaks at the New York Delegation breakfast at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday, July 18, 2016. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

ALBANY -- New York Republicans leaders are blasting state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman after a judge dismissed corruption charges against a senator accused of violating election laws.

State Republican chairman Ed Cox said Schneiderman, a Democrat, brought “ridiculous, politically motivated charges that don’t hold up in court” and accused him of conducting “political witch hunts.”

Cox ripped the state’s top legal officer one day after Judge Peter Lynch, of state Supreme Court in Albany County, threw out charges that Sen. Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) used a no-show job to funnel money to his wife.

“He has established a clear reputation for his political witch hunts at the expense of New York taxpayers,” Cox said of Schneiderman. “Judge Lynch’s decision to drop all charges against Senator Ortt is welcome news, but the actions of A.G. Schneiderman have left another indelible stain on the conduct of the state’s highest law enforcement officer that won’t be forgotten.”

Schneiderman is weighing a next step, including appealing Lynch’s decision.

“We disagree with the opinion regarding Senator Ortt and are considering our options,” Schneiderman spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said. “Nothing in today’s opinion changes the fact that Meghan Ortt received money for a politically connected no-show job. Only in Albany would a senator argue that receiving money for a politically connected no-show job isn’t a crime.”

The bipartisan Board of Elections had referred the case to the attorney general. In sum, Schneiderman alleged that Niagara County Republicans arranged for a no-show job for Ortt’s wife in 2010 after Ortt successfully ran for mayor of North Tonawanda.

The judge, however, ruled a related case could go forward. It involves alleged election-law violations against George Maziarz — whom Ortt had succeeded in the Senate.


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