Bharara: Cuomo Can Talk About Moreland Probe
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a television interview with MSNBC airing this week that Gov. Andrew Cuomo can talk about the federal government’s probe into the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption.
“People are able to exercise their public role in the way they see fit. They are allowed to exercise their first amendment rights,” Bharara said.
Cuomo closed the anti-corruption last year following an agreement on ethics legislation in the state budget, but Bharara’s office took control of the records generated by the panel.
Bharara is also probing the circumstances of why the subpoena-empowered commission closed and the level of involvement by the governor’s office.
Cuomo in the summer said the “public dialogue” around the commission is not helpful to the U.S. attorney, saying that he would no longer comment on the case as a result.
The statement came after commission members released statements — seemingly at the behest of the Cuomo administration — insisting there was no interference. The U.S. attorney’s office in a letter asked the governor’s office to stop.
“Several members of the Commission (District Attorneys and a law school dean) issued personal statements to correct the public record,” Cuomo said at the time. “These statements reiterated comments they had made over the past year. 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.”
Bharara today said this does not preclude Cuomo from taking questions about the case.
“I think it’s natural people are asking questions about it,” he said. “So, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions about it.”
He added, “I don’t think I or anyone else has ever said that any particular person shouldn’t be talking about how he or she made decisions publicly.”
Asked whether he put a gag on Cuomo to discuss the case, Bharara said, “I don’t think that’s true, because I’ve heard comments that have been attributed to the governor. So, you know, how he wants to interpret what he can and cannot say is up to him. And you can direct those questions elsewhere.”
Cuomo has said as recently as October that the Moreland case is in the U.S. attorney’s lap at this point and that his discussion of it publicly is “not helpful.”
“The U.S. attorney in New York City is now looking into the operation of the commission and I think that should be respected and I don’t think public dialogue on the matter is helpful right now and we’ll let him do his work,” Cuomo said at the time.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on February 10, 2015 at 10:43 am, and is filed under Preet Bharara. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|