ITHACA, N.Y. — District Attorney Candidate Ed Kopko has been removed as special prosecutor from a Broome County case after a local law presented a technicality to his appointment.
Kopko was assigned as a special prosecutor after Broome County DA Steve Cornwell’s son, Stephen Cornwell III, was charged with a misdemeanor for possessing a hypodermic instrument in late September.
Kopko said that at the time of his appointment, officials did not know that special prosecutors can only be appointed from counties immediately adjacent to a the county. Because Kopko is based out of Tompkins County, that makes him ineligible to be the special prosecutor in the case.
Kopko said that in the few days he was a special prosecutor, he was able to negotiate a plea deal with Cornwell’s lawyer, which suggested six months of treatment for the defendant.
“Before we could present the negotiated plea to the court the Broome County attorney realized that the county law restricted the appointment of a special prosecutor to the immediately adjoining county,” Kopko said.
Since then, Kopko has mentioned his appointment as prosecutor in a live-streamed debate and referenced it in his campaign materials. He has not publicly stated that he is no longer the prosecutor.
“There was nothing disingenuous about it whatsoever,” Kopko said. “The point about being the special prosecutor was the recognition by the Broome County Court of my experience and my expertise.”
The case is now being prosecuted by Adam Schumacher.
Featured photo by Benjamin Torrey.