Probe examines book deal approval

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 book deal remains a matter of controversy.

ALBANY — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lawyer is back on the attack, once again claiming the damning report that led to his downfall is biased and cryptically warning others they could face a similar fate.

Attorney Rita Glavin sent a letter to lawmakers Friday, rehashing many of Cuomo’s arguments and claims of innocence despite resigning amid sexual harassment allegations in August. Glavin is again castigating Attorney General James’ investigation into her client’s alleged behavior.

In the missive, Glavin cautions lawmakers that should the Assembly “go along with this false narrative, you will be creating a new standard for sexual harassment that every member of the legislature must be prepared to be judged by.”

Investigators working under James detailed dozens of claims of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment made against the disgraced Democrat by multiple women.

The letter comes as the Assembly readies to release the results of its aborted impeachment probe, which is expected to back many of the allegations outlined in James’ report.

Lawmakers, who cut their work short when Cuomo resigned, were also probing several other scandals that had engulfed the administration including allegations that family and associates of the governor received preferential treatment for COVID-19 testing as well as issues related to the former governor’s $5.1 million pandemic-themed book.

Glavin claims that timesheets prove that Cuomo aides who assisted him with the tome did so on their own time and argues that legislative staffers frequently partake in fundraising and campaign activities during the workday.

The letter, addressed to Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine, a Democrat, and lawyers working for the panel, again questions the credibility and motivations of several of Cuomo’s accusers.

Cuomo maintains that he did nothing wrong and has said he only resigned to avoid an impeachment process that could have embroiled Albany for months.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has said in August that lawmakers uncovered “credible evidence in relation to the allegations that have been made in reference to the governor.”

Cuomo and his attorneys have repeatedly cast his undoing as the result of James’ political ambition, arguing that the investigation was orchestrated as a means to boost her own gubernatorial prospects.

In the latest letter, Glavin insinuates that recent comments made by James indicate the state’s top prosecutor had a personal hand in the investigation, which was meant to be conducted independently.

There are “new questions about whether the AG violated the terms of the investigative referral made to her office,” Glavin writes, pointing to comments James made at a recent Ulster County Democratic Committee dinner.

“When they came into my office, and they told me about the fact that Albany was toxic ... how they were harassed ... I believed them, because they were specific,” James said in reference to Cuomo’s accusers.

Glavin argues that the comments show James “did not hand the reigns of this investigation to an “independent” law firm to do the investigation, as was required by the terms of the March 1 referral.”

Representatives for James and Lavine did not respond to requests for comment.

Tribune Wire