All filing a false instrument charges dismissed against Bessette in petition forgery case

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneida County Court Judge Barry Donalty has dismissed all charges of filing a false instrument against a two-year veteran of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department accused of offering forged signatures on petitions to get her friend and co-worker, former Democratic Sheriff's Candidate Angela Gumbarevic, elected sheriff.

All that remains against Heidi Bessette now is the charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Gumbarevic pleaded guilty to that charge. Prosecutors say she was desperate to get the required number of signatures to put her name on the ballot within the required time frame.

In exchange for her guilty plea, Gumbarevic received five years probation and community service.

Bessette was found not-guilty on all the remaining charges. She chose a bench trial, meaning a judge, not a jury, decided her fate.

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