State Supreme Court judge who stepped in front of train seeks return to bench

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A local judge who was videotaped stepping in the path of a train last February is now trying to get back on the bench.

A spokesman for the N.Y. State Court system confirmed to News 4 that State Supreme Court Justice John Michalski has formally requested clearance to return to his job as a judge.

A court spokesman noted that Judge Michalski is still on medical leave and still needs to satisfy further conditions set the by the court system before he could return. Michalski’s attempt to return to the bench was first reported by The Buffalo News.

Exclusive video obtained by News 4 shows Michalski approaching an oncoming train on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 28.

Shortly after the incident, News 4 confirmed federal prosecutors were looking at the relationship of Michalski and family friend Peter G. Gerace Jr., who operates the Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club in Cheektowaga.

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

In April, News 4 filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the Village of Depew to compel officials to release the complete police report and any videos of the incident. A State Supreme Court judge in August declined to release any additional video obtained by police, but did provide additional information from the police report that got redacted by Depew Police Department (read the full decision below).

“The court’s in camera examination reveals that the individual involved, Justice John Michalski, has a privacy interest in the requested materials, which depict or describe what appears to be an attempted suicide,” wrote Thomas P. Brown, Acting Justice of the Supreme Court.

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George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.

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