Former Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon has pleaded guilty to avoid trial.

He entered the plea to a felony charge of third-degree bribery before State Supreme Court Justice Donald F. Cerio Jr. who agreed to cap his sentence at no more than a year in jail.

Pigeon admitted using his influence to help Judge Michalek try to get an appointment to the court’s Appellate Division; promoting two of Michalek’s family members to get jobs;  providing a comped $1,000 ticket to a political fundraiser and box seat tickets to two Sabres games to Michalek; and that he got the judge to appoint one of Pigeon’s associates as a receiver in a foreclosure case.

“The Pigeon era is over. Even though Steve Pigeon left behind a legacy of reckless destructive division, our party today is stronger than ever, and our rebirth as a clean, accountable organization began the day he left.” said Current Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner.

Zellner continued:

At last weekend’s reorganizational meeting, at least a third of the room raised their hands when asked if they were new to our ranks. That’s just one measure of the energy and enthusiasm that defines us in 2018.

We are growing, we are united, and we have a bright future as we work together to elect Democrats and provide this community with the great leadership it deserves.

NY27 Democratic Candidate Nathan McMurray said in a statement, “I hate that the reputation of public servants in Western New York is now that of indictments, court dates, corruption, bribery, FBI charges, and Congressional ethics investigations. Regardless of party, democrat or republican, we must uphold the rule of law. Voters are sick of this. I’m sick of this.” Said McMurray.

Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for Governor also released a statement:
Steve Pigeon, the Democratic Buffalo money and influence broker for Cuomo, Clinton, Golisano, and a host of special interests pleaded guilty this morning to bribing a judge for favors. Unfortunately, bribery, bid-rigging, straw donors, and other forms of public corruption are a bipartisan pastime in New York. It’s time to throw both teams of bums out.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 21. Pigeon remained free on bail while he awaits sentencing.

Pigeon, who Cerio said will likely be disbarred as a lawyer because of the guilty plea, waived his right to appeal.