NORWICH – The final cost of the public defense in the Peter M. Wlasiuk murder trial has been submitted to the Chenango County Public Defender’s Office and totals over a quarter-million dollars.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Evening Sun, Public Defender Alan Gordon released the newly-billed amounts against the strenuous objection of the attorney assigned in the murder retrial, Randel A. Scharf of Cooperstown.
Speaking to The Evening Sun earlier this month, Scharf said the payments approved by the court were sealed documents and publication of the information could expose the Public Defender’s Office and the newspaper to a possible lawsuit.
“Those orders that are filed, that have to do with any payment, are files that are sealed and are extremely sensitive,” said Scharf. “You don’t have any right to file for any confidential information.”
However, Gordon and the presiding authority in the case, Broome County Court Judge Martin E. Smith, who signed the payment orders, disagreed and both offices said the information could be made public.
On Sept. 30, the Public Defender’s Office received a court order from Smith to pay an additional $108,966.44 on top of the already-claimed $149,490.87 in approved expenses for Wlasiuk’s defense.