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Posts by Maureen McManus
Jul 8th - 10:58 am
One week after being indicted on a charge of lying to the FBI, Senator Tom Libous says he is innocent. Libous did a phone interview with Binghamton area radio station WNBF Tuesday morning, and repeatedly asked voters to have confidence in him.
The charges brought by US attorney Preet Bharara relate to a case against Libous’s son Matthew, who is accused of filing false tax returns and making false statements about his income.
Prosecutors say Tom Libous urged a Westchester County law firm to hire Matthew Libous, and then arranged for a lobbying firm to pay his salary.
In the interview, Senator Libous said he did not want to comment on his son’s case but had plenty to say about his own defense. Libous pointed out that the accusations were that he made a false statement, not that he accepted bribes or abused his office. And furthermore, Libous told the host “I know it in my heart, I didn’t do anything wrong” and he expects to be found not guilty.
Of course, the case won’t go to trial immediately and in the meantime Libous does have an election to worry about. Libous said he is still planning to run for re-election, denying a suggestion from 2010 gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino that he planned to eventually drop out in an attempt to pick his own replacement.
That suggestion was made on the same radio station last month, but Libous said Paladino “is not my doctor” and that in fact despite his ongoing battle with cancer his doctors have encouraged him to run. That cancer is manageable but not curable according to the senator.
The accusations against Libous have lead to conflicting responses from his own party. State GOP chairman Ed Cox suggested that Bharara’s decision to indict Libous so close to the election was politically motivated.
Libous neither agreed nor disagreed with Cox, saying only that people can say what they want. Libous also said he was not surprised that the GOP candidate for governor, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, seems to believe he is guilty. Last week Astorino called the case evidence that Governor Cuomo has not done enough to clean up Albany.
Astorino has introduced his own ethics plan, which focuses largely on the state legislature, citing the growing list of federal indictment against lawmakers as major problem in state government.
Meanwhile the current governor is largely staying out of the matter. But Libous said Cuomo did call him and left a message, although the two have not spoken directly and Libous would not say what was in the message.
Libous does face a possible primary challenger, businessman Denver Jones, and a Democratic opponent, former Vestal town Supervisor Anndrea Starzak. He did use the radio interview to remind voters of past accomplishments, like saving the psychiatric center and helping bring new construction to Binghamton University, and ask them to have confidence in him moving forward.
Jun 17th - 1:06 pm
Reports on visits from gubernatorial candidates as the legislative session winds down and on the Malcolm Smith trial, plus interviews with Senator Diane Savino, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu.
Jun 16th - 8:57 pm
After Governor Cuomo vowed to flip the Senate chamber in favor of the Democrats in exchange for the Working Families Party nod, New York state voters are telling the governor to stay out of it. This is according to the latest Siena Research Poll. But when it comes to the governor’s race, Cuomo still has the lead. Pollster Steve Greenberg goes over the numbers.
Jun 16th - 8:56 pm
As the legislative session draws to a close, Senate Democrats are making an all-out push for their top priorities, including the full ten point women’s equality act, the DREAM Act, and a statewide public campaign finance system. But most of those issues do not have a good chance of getting resolved before the end of the week. And that means they will likely become campaign issues. Conference leader Andrea Stewart Cousins discusses what happens next.
Jun 16th - 8:54 pm
Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu today officially announced their bid for the Democratic nomination for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on Monday. The two law professors refer to themselves as “Progressive democrats,” and at the campaign rollout Teachout said she sees two Republicans in the race – Rob Astorino and Andrew Cuomo. The pair explain why they want voters to choose them over the incumbent and his running mate, Kathy Hochul.
Jun 16th - 8:52 pm
Talks continued Monday as lawmakers consider a deal on medical marijuana before the end of the legislative session. The current legislation, the Compassionate Care Act, has already passed the Assembly and has bipartisan support in the Senate.
But Governor Cuomo still has some reservations. Diane Savino, the senate sponsor of the bill, explains where things stand.
Jun 11th - 11:06 am
Former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno discusses life after his acquittal, plus interviews with NYCLU’S Donna Lieberman and Brian Shapiro of the Humane Society fo the US.
Jun 9th - 12:55 pm
Reports on the latest casino development plans, the death of women’s rights activist, and more plus the reporter roundtable breaks down the week’s biggest stories and Dr. Steven Liebo discusses the Bergdahl case.
May 30th - 9:08 pm
Candidates for judgeships across the state are in a holding pattern due to legislation which has stalled in the state legislature. The bill would create 20 new family court judge positions, however no one in the state senate has sponsored the legislation yet. This makes it difficult for potential candidates to start collecting signatures for petitions that are due July 10. But advocates have not given up. Stephanie Gendell and Denise Kronstadt, the co-chairs of the New York State Coalition for More Family Court Judges, explain where things stand.
May 30th - 9:08 pm
There is now officially a challenger to Governor Cuomo for the Working Families Party line. The left-leaning party has been considering backing someone other than the governor as a criticism of his tax policies and his failure to get public campaign finance passed. And while the WFP is a relatively small party, this fight is getting national attention from progressive groups. In fact one of them, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has already endorsed law professor Zephyr Teachout in her campaign for the party’s line. PCCC co-founder Adam Green explains.