The Impact of the Maziarz and Ortt Cases

How the Case and Convictions Could Affect Albany and Niagara County

Tom Puckett
March 24, 2017 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Both State Sen. Rob Ortt and former State Sen. George Maziarz pleaded not guilty to filing a false instrument, the impacts could affect not only Niagara County, but Albany.

If Ortt is convicted, he forfeits his seat, and Kevin Hardwick of Canisius College says that could shake up an already shaky majority in the State Senate. "If they were lose Ortt and a Democrat were elected, that would be a game changer for the entire state of New York," says Hardwick, who notes the Independent Democratic Conference gives the GOP the majority in that chamber. "Even if he is found not guilty, it's baggage he'll have to take into the next election."

But Hardwick says it's getting ahead of ourselves, as Ortt contends he has a strong case.

If Maziarz is convicted, Maziarz says that would bring shocks to the Niagara County Republican party. "George Maziarz, for a couple of decades, was the Republican Party in Niagara County," says Hardwick. "Right now it's a fairly strong organization, and we'll have to see who else is implicated, if anybody, and what those ramifications are."

The stakes are high from a legal standpoint. "They're felonies that carry no less than four years in prison. Anybody who has a law degree with a felony conviction would have to forfeit it," says attorney Paul Cambria, who notes this happens often in the public as well as private sectors. "We see situations where on payrolls people are being paid and they don't work, and that entails larceny and false filing."

Cambria says with public figures involved another layer is added, making it tough to pick a jury which is not familiar with the case. 

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