Cuomo gets new lawyer as controversy swirls
August 1st, 2014
01:57 PM ET
4 months ago

Cuomo gets new lawyer as controversy swirls

(CNN) – New York State politics have never been the cleanest but it seems things are getting a bit murkier in Albany.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has retained new counsel to the Executive Chamber, CNN confirmed Friday.

His previous lawyer, Mylan Denerstein, has retained his own counsel according to the New York Daily News.

Replacing Denerstein is Elkan Abramowitz, a prominent criminal defense attorney specializing in white collar crimes.

"Our goal is to make sure we are cooperating fully with US Attorney's investigation," Abramowitz told CNN.

The state budget office's Morris Peters said no public funds will be used to pay the newly retained counsel.

"The Governor's campaign will pay for the lawyer acting as Chamber Counsel to avoid any cost to taxpayers," Peters said.

Cuomo's office has come under suspicion for alleged interference with the Moreland Commission, an ethics panel the governor established to investigate wrongdoing by public officials.

Cuomo pushes back against report of tampering in corruption investigation

The New York Times reported last week that Cuomo's office opposed the commission's targeting groups with political ties to the governor.

After the report, some commissioners issued statements defending the investigation, but now the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York is calling into question the validity of those statements.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. Attorney sent a letter earlier this week to the governor's office that warning of possible obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

Yesterday, the governor said, "As I believe the U.S. Attorney has made it clear that ongoing public dialogue is not helpful to his investigation, we will have no additional comment on the matter."

Some state lawmakers have called on Cuomo to resign over the new allegations. Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney alleged the entire Moreland Commission was used as a stick to coerce lawmakers' votes to line up with the governor's' agenda.

"He should resign immediately, his Modus Operandi has been to bully and intimidate his opponents and now it's come to light that he's been interfering with his own ethics commission. It's a disgrace," Tenney said.

Cuomo faces a Democratic primary challenge from the left by Zephyr Teachout and a general election challenge from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. Both have also called for Cuomo's resignation over the probe. Polls suggest Cuomo – who has shot down suggestions he's considering a 2016 presidential bid – is the overwhelming frontrunner in November's gubernatorial election.

Cuomo created the Moreland Commission in July 2013. Its 3 co-chairs and 22 members are appointed by the State Attorney General. It has cost the state of New York $350,000 thus far. The governor shut down the commission in March of this year after the state Assembly passed a set of ethics laws.

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Filed under: 2014 • Andrew Cuomo • New York
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Marty

    I watched his brother do two interviews on CNN this week. It appears bullying runs in the family

    August 1, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Boo

    You show me an honest ethical politician and I'll show you my pet unicorn.

    August 1, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. yolanda

    It's always interesting when the attorney has to "lawyer up". @Rudy, what can you tell me about Teachout other than what Google offers, please?

    August 1, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Klutch Cargo

    Huh?,
    Well I know one thing for sure. New York is no place for Conservatives. Cuomo said so.He said something like, New York has no place for Conservatives. Maybe no place for politicians either.

    August 1, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Marty
    I watched his brother do two interviews on CNN this week. It appears bullying runs in the family

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    chris christi is his brother?!

    August 1, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Chris..E.Al

    Lets just see if the MSM treats Mr A.C. like a rabid pig about six times a day for a year or so ! I know they want ?

    August 1, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Hillary Inathong

    Just say all of the evidence was on a computer and the hard drive crashed! Thanks to Obama's IRS thugs, this is a perfectly acceptable practice.

    August 1, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    yolanda

    It's always interesting when the attorney has to "lawyer up". @Rudy, what can you tell me about Teachout other than what Google offers, please?
    --------------------
    Not much more than that. Check out some of the liberal blog sites. She's done interviews with the major ones.

    August 1, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |