AMHERST, N.Y. — Many of the details of the two cases are different.
"With Mr. McLaughlin, I have no idea if he's innocent or guilty. I have no idea if the accuser is bringing a righteous claim," HoganWillig attorney Steven Cohen said.
But there is a common thread in the Assembly Ethics investigations of Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin and former Assemblywoman Angela Wozniak.
"It is a violation of their rules, sanctionable violation of their rules, as Mr. McLaughlin just found out, simply to reveal the name of an accuser," Cohen said.
Cohen knows the scenario well. His client, Wozniak, was previously admonished by the committee, because Cohen confirmed the name of the accuser to Capital Tonight and Spectrum News.
"They go out of their way to protect the identity of the accuser to make it easier to come forth and make an accusation," he said.
It's a rule the attorney continues to contest. He said the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant effective counsel and attorneys can't provide that without the ability to question others about an accuser's motives.
"The case law has not been as unanimous nor abundant nor powerful to establish the right of a defendant in an administrative hearing to the effective assistance of counsel," Cohen said.
He said he was interested in challenging the Assembly rules in court, still convinced today his client was the victim and not the predator.
"That would have been a good test case, but Assemblywoman Wozniak just said, ‘you know what, I'm moving on to other things’ and she didn't allow it to become a test case," Cohen said.
Regardless, the attorney said the Ethics Committee should reconsider its policy because it's vulnerable to abuse.
"Any political strategist can think, ‘let's have enough accusations made against our opponent, there's no fear of the name of the accuser ever getting out and that will destroy our opponent,’" he said.
Cohen said it's laudable, particularly with numerous allegations in the national spotlight, to want to protect victims, but he says it can't come at the expense of the rights of the accused.