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Cuomo’s $5 million book deal is still under investigation despite lawsuit, AG James says

Attorney General Letitia James’s office reiterated that it has an active criminal investigation into whether Andrew Cuomo illegally used staff in the preparation of his lucrative coronavirus pandemic memoir – just days after the disgraced ex-governor left the government watchdog had sued to keep the proceeds.

James launched an investigation into the $5.1 million lucrative memoir last April after receiving a referral from state comptroller Tom DiNapoli ordering her to “the alleged commission of one or more felonies” related to investigate the bookstore.

Her office issued a subpoena to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics last September requesting all records related to the Cuomo book deal.

It was a devastating investigative report James commissioned last August that concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed or abused a whole range of women — including female government employees. He was then forced to resign under threat of impeachment. Cuomo has noted that five different prosecutors have declined to press charges against him.

A lawyer for one of the witnesses – who requested anonymity – said the AG’s office told him back in December that the book investigation was “closed.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a news conference at the 1199 SEIU union headquarters on March 21, 2022 in New York City.
James launched an investigation into the $5.1 million lucrative memoir last April and issued a subpoena to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics last September, requesting all records of the book trade involving Cuomo.
Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

James’ office said the investigation into the Cuomo book was ongoing but declined to comment further.

Foster home families and Albany insiders have questioned why it took so long for the attorney general’s office to complete the audit.

“It took a lot longer than I expected. It’s pretty clear — Cuomo did it or he didn’t,” said Peter Arbeeny, whose father Norman died after contracting COVID-19 at a Brooklyn nursing home in 2020.

Still, Arbeeny said he still has “complete confidence” that James will issue a report on the findings.

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrives with Ruben Diaz at an event in the Bronx.
Cuomo sued state enforcement to keep the proceeds for his memoir.
Stephen Yang

A government watchdog said it’s about time the attorney general cleared the book deal probe.

“The conventional wisdom in Albany is that she is doing nothing and the investigation has stalled. But we don’t know,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany.

Cuomo's book cover.
James’ office said the investigation into the Cuomo book was ongoing but declined to comment further.

“If this is an ongoing investigation, is it reasonable to say when it will be completed and what is the timeline for that?” Mainly because she was criticized for saying this was politically motivated against Cuomo.”

JCOPE initially approved Cuomo’s plan to publish the book and make a profit from it, under the agreement that he would not use any staff or other government resources to prepare it.

JCOPE revoked its book deal license after concluding that Cuomo violated a policy not to use employees and public resources to prepare and has since tried to force him to cough up the profits. Cuomo said the employees volunteered their time and that he did not break the law.

“As we’ve been saying all along — just like legislators or other government officials working on political campaigns — on the advice of attorneys, the aid workers involved volunteered on their own time,” said Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi.

Rep. Charles Lavine, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which issued a damning investigative report into Cuomo’s use of staff to prepare the book, said: “His actions are in complete violation of JCOPE’s direction to him regarding the book. The ex-governor is left with nothing but chutzpah.”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/05/cuomos-5m-book-deal-still-under-investigation-despite-suit-ag-james-says/ Cuomo’s $5 million book deal is still under investigation despite lawsuit, AG James says

JACLYN DIAZ

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