Former judge dead of suicide 12 days after federal officers raided his home: report

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that John Michalski, a former New York State Supreme Court judge, was found dead of suicide in his home — as a federal investigation appeared to be escalating against him.

"Just 12 days earlier, his home had been raided by state and federal law enforcement officers on a search warrant," reported Dia Gill. "Michalski had reportedly been under investigation for 'several years,' according to The Buffalo News."

"His suicide comes a year after he was struck by a freight train in what was believed to have been another suicide attempt," noted the report. "Michalski was hit by the train the same day that former client and strip club owner Peter Gerace Jr. was charged with drug and sex trafficking and bribing a federal agent. Days later, Michaelski was taken in for questioning about his friendship with Gerace."

Defense Attorney Terrence Connors told The Buffalo News that his suicide is "heartbreaking" and added that his legal problems appeared to have been "manageable."

"The friendship between the judge and Gerace began decades ago when Michalski was in private practice and performed legal work for Gerace's strip club, according to attorney Anthony J. Lana, who was also representing the judge," noted The Buffalo News. "In 2006, when Gerace was awaiting sentencing for a felony wire fraud conviction related to his sweepstakes telemarketing business, Michalski wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, asking him to show leniency for his friend. In his letter, Michalski described Gerace as a client and friend for nearly a decade."

No charges had ever been filed against the judge.


John Michalski, state supreme court judge, dead at 61