Governor Andrew Cuomo Now Facing Potential Criminal Probe Into Book Deal


The State Comptroller’s workplace has requested Lawyer Common Tish James conduct a prison investigation into whether or not Governor Andrew Cuomo or high aides violated the regulation whereas engaged on his memoir final summer season.

In a letter despatched to James’ workplace on April thirteenth, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli requested James examine “the alleged fee of any indictable offense” associated to the usage of state property or assets by Cuomo’s govt chamber “within the drafting, enhancing, sale and promotion of the Governor’s ebook and any associated monetary or enterprise transaction.”

DiNapoli additionally licensed James to current fees to a grand jury and to “prosecute the particular person or individuals believed to have dedicated…any crime or offense arising out of such investigation.”

The New York Instances first reported on the Comptroller’s referral on Monday afternoon. State regulation requires James’ workplace to get a referral from the governor, the comptroller, or a number of different high state officers to start out sure investigations.

It’s not instantly clear what prison statutes Cuomo could have violated, and the comptroller’s workplace declined to specify. A spokesperson for James’ workplace confirmed that they had obtained the referral however declined to remark additional.

Good authorities teams have stated Cuomo’s reported $4 million greenback ebook payout raises clear violations of state ethics legal guidelines, that are civil statutes, not prison ones, punishable by sizable fines, however not jail time.

When requested in regards to the newest potential probe into Cuomo’s conduct, senior advisor Wealthy Azzopardi stated the probe “jumped the shark,” and accused DiNapoli of appearing in an unethical and politically motivated method.

“The concept there was criminality concerned right here is patently absurd on its face and is simply the furthering of a political pile-on,” Azzopardi stated. “That is Albany politics at its worst and to be clear — it’s unethical to wield his prison referral authority to additional political self-interest‎.”

Cuomo first introduced he was writing a mid-pandemic memoir, titled American Disaster: Management Classes From the COVID-19 Pandemic, on July tenth, 2020, 4 days after the discharge of a well being division report that high staffers had altered to decrease the variety of deaths in nursing properties from COVID.

The NY Instances and the Instances Union later reported each high aides and junior staffers have been anticipated to work on the memoir as a part of their regular duties, elevating considerations about potential violations of the state Public Officers Legislation, which prohibits state assets from getting used for private achieve. Cuomo’s workplace has maintained any work employees did on the memoir was voluntary and never paid for from state coffers. However ethics consultants additionally level to the bigger moral query of whether or not Cuomo was intentionally deflating the variety of nursing house deaths in an effort to safe the ebook deal, which might additionally symbolize a violation of ethics legal guidelines.

Violations of the general public officers regulation are purported to be upheld by the State’s Joint Fee on Public Ethics, which was lately despatched two complaints from state Republicans about Cuomo’s conduct. On April ninth, the fee held a two-hour lengthy govt session after which a consultant stated that they had “licensed steps in an investigative matter,” however declined to state what the matter entailed.

John Kaehny with the nice authorities group Reinvent Albany, who’s lengthy criticized JCOPE for being “toothless,” took the Comptroller’s referral as signal the comptroller and the state lawyer needed to go across the state ethics fee.

“It reveals they don’t have any confidence in JCOPE,” Kaehny stated. “They’ve teamed as much as principally do JCOPE’s job.”

A spokesperson for JCOPE didn’t return a request for remark instantly.

Cuomo's book in a bookstore


Andrew Cuomo’s ebook “American Disaster”

George Wirt / Shutterstock

The Many Ongoing Investigations Dealing with Governor Cuomo

Meeting pre-impeachment investigations

In mid-March, The New York State Meeting launched an investigation into nursing properties, sexual harassment, and the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, amongst different topics. A number of ladies who’ve accused Cuomo of sexual harassment have stated they might not take part within the course of fearing it was too political. The investigation may very well be a precursor to an impeachment vote within the Meeting, however critics have known as the probe a stall tactic from Cuomo’s political allies hoping to purchase him extra time.

Federal probe into nursing properties

The FBI and the federal prosecutors within the Japanese District of New York are reportedly probing Cuomo’s dealing with of nursing properties in the course of the pandemic, and whether or not he falsified information supplied to the federal authorities relating to nursing house deaths.

State Lawyer Common investigation into sexual harassment

Lawyer Common Tish James employed an outdoor agency in early March to analyze sexual harassment allegations by at the least 5 present and former staffers towards Cuomo, in addition to a number of different ladies who met Cuomo in passing. Her workplace has reportedly subpoenaed high officers in Cuomo’s workplace.

Potential Ethics Investigation By JCOPE

In early April Republican legislators filed two complaints with the state’s Joint Fee on Public about whether or not state assets have been used in the course of the writing and promotion of Cuomo’s memoir. After a two-hour-long closed door assembly on April ninth, the fee stated that they had “licensed steps in an investigative matter,” declining to state what the matter was.