BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An attorney for longtime Democratic political operative G. Steven Pigeon alleged in court papers that Erie County District Attorney John Flynn has a score to settle with his client for blocking his political aspirations, and therefore Flynn should be disqualified from prosecuting the criminal case.
James Nobles, a Rochester attorney hired by Pigeon in January, also accused Flynn of a pattern of misconduct that was showcased at a Dec. 2, 2021 press conference, where he claimed Flynn made “prejudicial and unethical comments” that violated Pigeon’s right to due process.
Pigeon was indicted in December 2021 on two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, rape in the first degree, criminal sex act in the first degree, sex abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. He had pleaded not guilty.
The motion alleged that Pigeon – once a powerful political broker in the state and Erie County – blocked Flynn from getting several appointed and elected positions between 2003 and 2015, ranging from Erie County Executive to undersecretary of the U.S. Navy in the Obama administration.
Pigeon also alleged that he thwarted the political aspirations of one of Flynn’s assistants, Michael Keane, who is the first assistant district attorney.
Nobles accused Flynn’s office of investigating Pigeon’s case in-house without any oversight from other law enforcement agencies for at least the first six weeks, while at the same time, Flynn had complained about heavy caseloads that had resulted in his office having to dismiss cases.
Yet, Nobles said Flynn’s office has failed to produce any discovery materials from that period when his office was investigating the case in-house.
On Wednesday, Flynn pushed back in a short statement, but declined to comment further due to the pending motion.
“I’m vigorously opposing the motion,” Flynn said. “It’s full of lies and has no legal basis.“
Nobles’ motion describes several alleged meetings that Pigeon had with Flynn and others to discuss Flynn’s political aspirations and what might be available.
Two of Pigeon’s friends, Gary Parenti and Kristy Mazurek, and Hormoz Mansouri, who supported Flynn but was also a good friend to Pigeon, verified elements of some of the meetings in affidavits filed with the motion.
For example, the motion states that Flynn returned to Buffalo, after serving several years as a JAG officer for the U.S. Navy, with “lofty political ambitions.”
After two years as an assistant prosecutor, Flynn is alleged to have appeared at a meeting with Pigeon in his Navy uniform and inquired about what positions would be open for an aspiring Democratic politician.
The motion states Pigeon helped Flynn gets roles as town prosecutor for Tonawanda and a town justice.
The motion alleged that in 2008, when Flynn expressed interest in running for district attorney, Pigeon again blocked Flynn from getting the nod. Flynn eventually dropped out of the race.
Another alleged meeting cited in the motion was in 2014-2015, when a Flynn supporter and longtime Pigeon friend asked Pigeon to help Flynn get an appointment as undersecretary of the U.S. Navy. Pigeon had worked for the Clinton Administration under Bill Clinton’s presidency and had ties to the Obama Administration.
That request led to an alleged lunch meeting, where Flynn is said to have directly asked Pigeon if he could get him the undersecretary position, the motion stated.
The motion alleged that when Pigeon told Flynn he lacked the experience for that role, Flynn stormed away, saying, “‘you have killed my life dream.'”
But Nobles said it was Flynn’s Dec. 2, 2021, press conference that really caught his attention that there might be more to this than your typical criminal prosecution.
“It struck me in such a way that it gave me pause about what prior relationship these two may have based on the comments that he made,” Nobles told News 4 Investigates.
Nobles said the rules of professional conduct for attorneys state that they should avoid pre-trial commentary on the credibility and reputation of any suspects and avoid opinions as to the guilt or innocence of a defendant, among other rules.
But the motion alleged that Flynn violated these tenets numerous times in one press conference.
For example, Flynn said at the Dec. 2, 2021, press conference that, “I do not believe that Pigeon should be out of jail. I believe he should be in jail for the rest of his life quite frankly. And we are going to proceed forward to that.”
Nobles said this statement can only be viewed one way: “that John Flynn believes Steve Pigeon is unequivocally guilty.”
Flynn has pushed back in the past when reporters asked him about the potential of a conflict by prosecuting Pigeon.
“No conflict with me at all,” Flynn said when asked by a reporter in December 2021. “I know him, obviously. I would — I would categorize our relationship as business acquaintances. Since our business is political, that I would — I guess I would categorize it business/political acquaintance. I do not believe that I have seen him or speak to him — spoke to him — in the past six years.”
Nobles said even if what Flynn said is true, “that is not enough to cure the conflict” that he said Flynn has with his client.
Flynn’s office is scheduled to respond to the motion on Tuesday, with arguments set for April 11.
Pigeon’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 4.
- Bandits lose in Colorado, decisive game of NLL Finals in Buffalo on Saturday night
- Trump escalates attacks on judges amid increasing legal scrutiny
- Ramaswamy embraces ‘outsider’ label as he takes on Trump
- Veterans honored in service at Forest Lawn Cemetery
- Reparations for climate change? Some think oil companies should pay
Dan Telvock is an award-winning investigative producer and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.