Law enforcement and Bethlehem town officials are saying very little about a felony charge brought against a notable town police officer who has been on medical leave for years.
Christopher Hughes, 40, of Feura Bush, was arrested by State Police yesterday and charged with possession of a forged instrument. Police say Hughes submitted a forged police retirement identification card to Galls, a Kentucky-based company that sells equipment, supplies and clothing for emergency responders, and which also processes badges and identifications. Hughes allegedly provided the card in order to have a police retirement badge processed.
State Police were asked by the Bethlehem Police Department to investigate a possible forgery case, after the company called the department to confirm the processing of the badge. Hughes is not retired, but has been off of active duty and on medical leave for several years. He will continue to draw a full salary until he reaches retirement age under state law.
Bethlehem Town Supervisor Sam Messina referred all calls regarding the charge brought against Hughes to the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s office declined comment regarding the new charge.
Calls to Hughes and his attorney were also not returned.
Documents obtained by The Spotlight show State Police executed a search warrant at Hughes’ residence in March. Both Hughes and his attorney declined to comment on the investigation at that time.
Hughes is well-known for allegations he made regarding a racial slur uttered by Bethlehem Police Chief Louis Corsi during a taped phone conversation. Those allegations sparked an investigation, which led to the discovery of the tape, and a 10-day suspension for Corsi.
Hughes has been vocal regarding town matters in the past. He has arrived at public meetings with signs and has picketed outside of Town Hall. In Dec. 2010, Hughes filed a lawsuit against the town, claiming that Corsi unfairly retaliated to comments and accusations Hughes had made publicly. It’s unclear when a final decision will be made regarding the lawsuit.
Hughes was released following his arraignment Oct. 18. A court date was tentatively scheduled for Oct. 21.
Check back to spotlightnews.com or read the Oct. 26 edition of The Spotlight for more on this story.