Depew PD release heavily redacted incident report involving judge struck by train

Depew
WEB TAG, Depew Police, Cuffs, Siren, Badge_197596

The Depew Police Department released a heavily redacted incident report Friday that reveals very few new details about a state supreme court judge who was struck by a train on Feb. 28.

News 4 Investigates obtained the police incident report Friday through a Freedom of Information law request.

State Supreme Court Judge John L. Michalski remains hospitalized in stable condition with a serious leg injury, an ECMC hospital spokesman said.

What remains unclear is why Michalski was near train tracks at 11:43 a.m. Sunday.

Sources told News 4 Investigates that Michalski was scheduled to judge remotely an American Mock Trial Association tournament sponsored by Buffalo State, but he never logged on to the ZOOM feed.

The report states that officers searched for a vehicle and never found one.

Last week, a state court spokesman said they were informed that “the judge had been in a car accident and would be out for a period of time.” That story now appears to be untrue.

The report states that the crew operating the train provided written statements of their accounts of the incident, but those documents are not included in the paperwork released by the Depew Police Department.

In addition, the report states that a train enthusiast captured the incident on video.

The police department cited a privacy exemption for its reason to redact much of the incident report and not release the video of the incident.

The police department asked the Erie County District Attorney’s Office to review the case. The district attorney said this week that no charges will be filed.

News 4 Investigates also requested the video through FOIL from the district attorney’s office, but official responded that they no longer have it; they returned it to the police department.

The Buffalo News first reported that federal prosecutors are looking at the relationship of Michalski and family friend Peter G. Gerace Jr., who operates the Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club in Cheektowaga.

Two sources confirmed this potential link with News 4 Investigates.

The Geraces are close friends with the Michalskis, sources told News 4.

In fact, the judge married Gerace Jr. and his former wife, Katrina Nigro, according to the marriage certificate obtained by News 4 Investigates.

Gerace Jr. is charged with distribution of drugs, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and paying bribes to former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Joseph Bongiovanni.

Bongiovanni is charged with accepting $250,000 in bribes to shield friends and drug dealers from prosecution and 16 other crimes.

Both Gerace Jr. and Bongiovanni are childhood friends.

James P. Harrington, Bongiovanni’s attorney, has denied the allegations in court records, where he described it as “the government’s sensational case” that is absent of “any clear evidence.”

The charges are part of a decade-long federal investigation into local ties to Italian Organized Crime, according to court records.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories