An Albany County Judge has dismissed all indictments against state Senator Rob Ortt due to lack of evidence. Ortt was facing three felony charges of filing a false instrument.

The state Attorney General’s office accused the Republican of obtaining a “no-show job” for his wife in order to make up for a pay reduction he took to become the mayor of the City of North Tonawanda.

The judge’s decision references evidence that Niagara County Republican Committee funneled money through two companies, Synor and Regency Communications, that were later paid to Ortt’s wife Meghan. One exhibit submitted to the court shows the companies paid $21,500 to Meghan Ortt over a number of years which were reported on the couple’s joint income tax returns.

According to the court documents though, there was no proof that the defendant knew the money source was the NCRC. As a result, the judge wrote the evidence did not show that Ortt had knowledge campaign finance reports were false, nor that he had any intent to defraud the state.

“Today’s decision by Judge Lynch to dismiss these ridiculous political charges was welcome news,” Ortt said in a statement. “This quick and forthright dismissal exposed Eric Schneiderman for the power hungry, political opportunist that he is. It is my hope that this ruling today will force Mr. Schneiderman to think twice before concocting baseless charges to serve his own radical progressive political agenda again. My wife and I look forward to receiving a personal apology from Mr. Schneiderman.”

The decision does not clear former state Senator George Maziarz who was also implicated in the alleged scheme.

“We’re pleased that a trial date has been set for the corruption charges against Sen. Maziarz,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman.

“We disagree with the opinion regarding Sen. Ortt and are considering our options. 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.”

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan celebrated the news in a statement as well.

“Rob Ortt is is a friend and colleague who has maintained his innocence from day one,” Flanagan said. “Now everyone will know what his Senate colleagues and I have known for a very long time — that he is a person of honor and integrity who did everything right.”

 

Judge Dismisses All Charges Against Senator Rob Ortt by Ryan Whalen on Scribd