BINGHAMTON, NY – Former Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell is facing multiple charges of public corruption, accused of defrauding taxpayers of their money.
NewsChannel 34 was in the courtroom today when an indictment was unsealed charging the former D-A with public corruption, grand larceny, forgery, corrupting the government and offering false instruments for filing.
Cornwell, a Republican, was D-A from 2016 through 2019 after unseating longtime Democrat Jerry Mollen.
His co-defendant, Jim Worhach who worked for Cornwell in the D-A’s office as a media specialist, is facing similar charges.
The basic allegation is that Cornwell and Worhach submitted false vouchers in order to collect funds they weren’t entitled to, and then removed or deleted documents to cover their trail.
Current District Attorney Mike Korchak, who previously worked alongside the defendants as Cornwell’s number 2, says the investigation began when Broome County records keepers reported some missing files.
While acknowledging that both men were once colleagues and friends, Korchak says he’s bound to pursue justice.
“When I was elected District Attorney, I took an oath to uphold the laws of New York State, and to serve the people of Broome County to the best of my ability. I’m not permitted to pick and choose who I prosecute. If a law is violated, someone will be held accountable and prosecuted, that’s how the system works,” says Korchak.
Korchak says he has no intention of recusing himself or the D-A’s office from the case based on their prior relationship.
Court of Claims Judge Donald Cerio from Madison County was selected to preside over the case.
Cornwell told NewsChannel 34 outside the courtroom that he did absolutely nothing wrong, committed no crimes and that he expects to be completely exonerated.
He also complained that he was not called to testify before the grand jury that indicted him.
Cornwell has hired high-profile defense attorney Bruce Barket who is known locally for having defended Tioga County businessman Cal Harris in 2 of his murder trials.
Cornwell left the D-A’s office after 2019, opting first for an aborted run for Congress followed by a failed attempt to become a Broome County Family Court Judge.