U.S. attorney warns Cuomo over Moreland Commission - KMSP-TV

U.S. attorney warns Cuomo over Moreland Commission

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York is reportedly warning Gov. Andrew Cuomo that he will investigate his administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering in connection with the Moreland anti-corruption commission.

The New York Times  reports that the letter from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to the lawyer for the commission says, in part: "We have reason to believe a number of commissioners recently have been contacted about the commission's work, and some commissioners have been asked to issue public statements characterizing events and facts regarding the commission's operation."

In 2013 Cuomo, a Democrat, created the state panel to investigate public corruption, called the Moreland Commission. But the governor is accused of interfering with investigations and compromising the commission's work.

The letter goes on to say: "To the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness's recollection of events relevant to our investigation, including the recollection of a commissioner or one of the commission's employees, we request that you advise our office immediately, as we must consider whether such actions constitute obstruction of justice or tampering with witnesses that violate federal law," reports the NY Times.

A spokesman for the commission has not commented.

On Wednesday, Cuomo said all the decisions by the commission had been made by the co-chair of the committee and with his co-chairs.

"I believe governor Cuomo committed a crime," said Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, who claimed Cuomo didn't hand over evidence to State Police. Astorino wants a special prosecutor to find out if any state and federal laws were broken.

"Apparently when it got too close to the governor, that's when he cut off this commission and buried the evidence," Astorino said. "So where is it? Who did he turn it over to?"

Cuomo countered: "I told the commission that any information they have, any files, any documents, should all be turned over to the relevant prosecutors, so that's been done already."

Basil Smikle, a political analyst, said: "It's absolutely appropriate for Astorino to call out the governor on what he would say is some of his hypocrisy."

But Smikle said that even if the allegations are true, it likely won't hurt voters' support for Cuomo.

"Especially coming off of several years of turmoil in the state Legislature, they're saying 'We finally have a grownup in office, why don't we vote him back in,'" Smikle said.

Back in April, the U.S. Attorney's Office asked the Moreland commission to send over documents for part of an ongoing investigation, before the commission was disbanded. 

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