Attorney General Letitia James has issued at least one subpoena relating to an investigation into the alleged use of state resources to promote former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's book on leadership during the pandemic, a new report says.
As part of her investigation into the former governor's alleged misuse of state resources, James issued at least one subpoena to the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics for its records on Cuomo's book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Times-Union reported Wednesday.
Representatives for New York's Executive Mansion and JCOPE did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's requests for comment. A representative for James declined to comment.
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In April, James received a referral from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to investigate whether "public resources [were] used in the development and promotion of the governor's book" following a March 31 ethics complaint from liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sought an investigation into whether Cuomo violated a law that prohibits "the use of campaign funds for personal use."
The former New York governor, who is expected to rake in $5.1 million from the memoir, insisted members of his staff volunteered to help with the book, but his office acknowledged that there might be some "incidental" use of state resources.
The JCOPE opened an investigation into separate allegations against Cuomo in July after Larry Schwartz, a Cuomo ally and volunteer adviser who oversaw COVID-19 vaccine distribution for New York, allegedly called a handful of Democratic county executives to ask whether they would urge the then governor to step down as he battled multiple scandals. Schwartz denied linking vaccine access to political support for Cuomo, and Beth Garvey, Cuomo's counsel, said in March that "distorting Larry’s role or intentions for headlines maligns a decadeslong public servant."
Throughout the final months of his governorship, Cuomo faced several allegations of impropriety, including claims that he directed health officials to give special access to COVID-19 testing to his inner circle and that he hid the state's coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, among other charges. The former governor repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
After opening a March 1 investigation into accusations Cuomo sexually harassed several women, James released a bombshell report on Aug. 3 that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and engaged in "retaliatory" behavior by "intend[ing] to discredit and disparage" at least one accuser.
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Cuomo, who denied touching anyone inappropriately, resigned on Aug. 24, elevating then Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to the role of governor.
The former governor signaled he will continue to defend his reputation against the allegation in his post-governorship, railing against James's "unjust" report in his farewell address to the state.