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William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, September 24, 2015


We have two interesting stories that seem to be coming to an intersection here in the Queen City of the Lakes. The first one has already attracted the attention of the national sporting press, and the second is representative of a particular interest to us at Outside Counsel.

First story first. Patrick Kane is a young hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks. He is a star, and he is a hometown kid who still lives in South Buffalo. He's been in some scrapes with the law in the past, and this summer he is accused of meeting a woman in a bar, inviting her to his home, and raping her. The case is presently under investigation, but it seems to have taken an odd course-- the Grand Jury was suspended, which is something I've never heard of happening, and now it appears that the rape kit evidence bag  was anonymously delivered to the mother of the accuser, and had been ripped open. As it happens the lawyer for the accuser is a classmate of mine. He is a pure criminal defense lawyer- if there is some sort of civil settlement in the background I think it is unlikely that Tom Eoannou is engineering it. Pat Kane's lawyer, as long as we are filling out scorecards, is Paul Cambria.

Meanwhile, the Erie County District Attorney,Frank A. Sedita III, is expected to be cross-endorsed by the Republican and Democratic parties for a Supreme Court judgeship. The cross-endorsement means that he is running unopposed, and came with the quid pro quo of a second cross-endorsement of a Republican lawyer who is one of the few lawyers in this story that I am not acquainted with. Frank Sedita is the son of a judge, and the grandson of a past mayor of Buffalo, so he's not what you'd call an obscure figure. Mr. Sedita has a somewhat unsavory habit of soliciting campaign contributions from his deputies and assistants, and it is said that he has accumulated quite a haul. It is also said that this accumulation was very persuasive when he was lining up his cross-endorsement deal, and one can see how that might have been the case-- although he had not declared at the time the Erie County Bar Association undertook to evaluate him. The Bar Association used a four point scale: Outstanding, Well Qualified, Qualified and Oh Hell No Not Qualified. Frank is Qualified.

You see where this is going, I'm sure. We are about to see a local political figure-- a candidate for a judgeship, for crying out loud-- embroiled in this season's ugliest sports scandal. It is fascinating to speculate about who will blink first. Will it be Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy? Will his Democratic Party counterpart, Jeremy Zellner, decide that he doesn't want this stink on his clothes? It would be irresponsible not to speculate that Frank Sedita himself might back off, but I think he's the least likely to display a modicum of shame. 

Further updates as warranted

UPDATE: Last night  Tom Eoannou withdrew as attorney for the accuser. I'm watching Frank Sedita's Presser right no. It looks like the bag was from the hospital- not an evidence bag. Apparently the last person known to hav the bag was the complaint's mother. 

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