FULTON, NY – Standing in the same room where he once served as president of the Fulton Common Council, Kenneth Myers stood quietly Tuesday morning with his attorney as he listened to the details of a plea agreement that was worked out with the Oswego County District Attorney’s office to satisfy charges that were brought against him in January.
“I have consulted with council,” said Watertown City Court Judge James C. Harberson Jr. He explained that Myers’ attorney, James Eby, and Chief Assistant District Attorney Donald Todd agreed to a charge of second-degree attempted obstruction of governmental administration to satisfy the original charges against Myers.
Harberson — who was assigned to the case after both Fulton City Court judges recused themselves — asked Todd what facts the DA’s office wanted Myers to admit to under the plea agreement.
Todd explained that Myers would admit that on Jan. 4 in the town of Volney, he obstructed governmental administration by assisting his son to persuade another person to give a false statement to New York State Police, relative to a New Year’s Eve motor-vehicle accident that took place in the town of Palermo.
Myers, 70, of 1253 Fay St., Fulton, and his son, 40-year-old Michael L. Myers were arrested in January in connection with the attempted cover-up. The elder Myers was originally charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration, fifth-degree conspiracy and fourth-degree criminal solicitation.
Michael Myers was driving alone on New Year’s Eve when the accident occurred. He reportedly left the vehicle — which was totaled — and contacted his father. Police said that his driver’s license was revoked at the time.
Together, father and son asked a friend to say that he was driving the vehicle in exchange for $500. Though the first person asked declined, police said a second person — who was regarded by police as “a friend of a friend” — agreed.
After Todd detailed the admission that would be required, the court asked Myers if he agreed.
“Yes,” Myers said.
Harberson told Myers that he has a right to take the matter to a jury trial. He explained that if he opted to enter a plea, he would be waiving that right and would be found guilty of the class-B misdemeanor.
Myers declined taking the matter to trial and Harberson subsequently accepted the plea. He ordered a pre-sentencing report and scheduled Myers to return for sentencing at 8:30 a.m., Aug. 4.
“I will advise you that I do not announce any sentence as part of the plea bargain,” Harberson said. He noted, however, that in the end, if there was any misunderstanding, Myers would be allowed to withdraw his plea.
Leaving court with his client, Eby declined comment on the case. Todd did the same.
“I have no comment until after sentencing,” Todd said. “Until this is done in August, (the DA’s office) won’t have much to say.”
In April, Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner Jr. sentenced Myers’ son to two to four years in state prison on a felony count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and one year for a felony charge of driving while intoxicated.
Michael Myers agreed to plead guilty to both charges, rather than taking the matter to trial. He is currently in custody at Gowanda Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in Erie County. His earliest possible release date is Jan. 5, 2010.