A New York State judge committed suicide on Tuesday 5 April less than two weeks after his home was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Judge John Michalski served as the acting justice of the State Supreme Court until his demise. He was found dead at his home in Amherst in New York. This was revealed by one of his lawyers -Terrence Connors.
“It’s difficult to explain what a tragedy this is,” said Mr. Connors said adding that “it would be difficult to find a judge who was more respected” in the Western New York legal community.
Michalski, 61, was on the radar of investigators for several years. However, no criminal charges were filed against him.
In February, 2021 Justice Michalski tried to commit suicide by lying on the tracks of a train in Buffalo at midday. He sustained leg injuries but survived the ordeal.
Days after the Feb 2021 suicide attempt the judge was questioned by federal agents about his relationship with Peter Gerace Jr. who owned a strip club in Cheektowaga.
The injuries on a freight train happened the same day his friend was charged with several feronies such as sex and drug trafficking and bribing a federal agent. Gerace denies the allegations.
After the attempted suicide, the judge was forced to take a leave from the bench where he was earning $210,000 per year. He returned to work in January 2022 and had started taking a full caseload.
Last month the federal authorities renewed their scrutiny on the judge. This led to his cases being re-assigned to other judges.
Justice Michalski has been a friend of Mr. Gerace for decades. At some point when the judge was in private practice, he worked for Mr. Gerace’s club.
Back in 2006, Justice Michalski wrote a letter to a federal judge asking for a lenient sentence for Mr. Gerace who had been convicted for wire fraud related to a sweepstakes telemarketing business.
Mr Connors said: “If they would have called me and asked for what they were looking for, we would have given it to them. We would have cooperated the same way we have cooperated all along.”
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