CUOMO AIDE SENTENCED

September 22, 2018 at 5:15 am

Yesterday, one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aides was sentenced to six years for corruption. We have the reaction and analysis of the case and the ripple effect it could have on Albany.

Aired on September 21, 2018.

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>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
A FORMER TOP AIDE AND INTIMATE
FRIEND OF GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO
WAS SENTENCED YESTERDAY TO SIX
YEARS IN FEDERAL BUSINESS ON
CORRUPTION CHARGES.
HE WAS CONVICTED IN MARCH OF
ACCEPTING MORE THAN $300,000 IN
BRIBES FROM COMPANIES THAT
WANTED TO GAIN INFLUENCE WITH
THE CUOMO ADMINISTRATION.
HANDING DOWN THE SENTENCE, JUDGE
FOWLER STRESSED THAT THE
PUNISHMENT WAS MEANT TO SEND A
MESSAGE TO ALBANY, YOU
CORRUPTION WILL NOT BE
TOLERATED.
AND A BRIEF STATEMENT, GOVERNOR
CUOMO AGREED WITH THE JUDGE
SAYING THAT THE SENTENCE SHOULD
SERVE AS A WARNING TO ANYONE WHO
FAILS TO UPHOLD HIS OR HER OATH
AS A PUBLIC SERVE ANLT.
THIS COMES ON THE HEELS OF OTHER
HIGH PROFILE CONVICTIONS BY
FEDERAL PROSECUTORS OF SEVERAL
ALBANY'S MOST POWERFUL FIGURES.
AND JOINING US NOW WITH ANALYSIS
IS JENNIFER ROGERS, SHE IS A
FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND A
CURRENT LECTURER AT COLUMBIA LAW
SCHOOL.
WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU.
>> FIRST OF ALL, VERY BRIEFLY,
GIVE US A SUMMARY OF THE CASE.
WHAT DID HE DO THAT WILL COST
HIM SIX YEARS IN PRISON?
>> HE TOOK BRIBES FROM TWO
COMPANIES, ONE OF WHOM WANTED A
CONTRACT FROM THE STATE AND
ANOTHER THAT WANTED FLEP A
PROJECT THEY WERE DOING.
THEY GAVE HIM MONEY AND MOST OF
IT CAME THROUGH WHAT IS CALLED A
LOW SHOW JOB TO HIS WIFE.
SO THEY PAID HER TO REALLY NOT
DO A WHOLE HEFCK OF A LOT AND
THEN THEY PAID THEM ON THE
BACKSIDE OF THE PROJECT.
>> THE PROBATION DEPARTMENT
WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
SUGGESTING SENTENCING
RECOMMENDED A FIVE YEAR PRISON
TERM FOR HIM.
BUT THE JUDGE SENTENCED HIM TO
SIX.
THAT'S JUST ONE YEAR LESS THAN
THE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHELLY
SILVER GOT TO ME MUCH MORE
EXTENSIVE CORRUPTION.
WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS A HARSH
SENTENCE THAT HE GOT?
>> I THINK IT IS A SUBSTANTIAL
SENTENCE.
BUT I THINK THE JUDGE IS FED UP
WITH HIM.
SHE CALLED HIM A BULLY.
CITIZENS WOULD HAVE TROUBLE
TRUSTING GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF
THE CONDUCT OF PEOPLE LIKE HIM.
SHE REALLY WENT AFTER HIM.
SHE SAT THROUGH THE WHOLE TRIAL.
SHE SAW ALL OF THE EVIDENCE AND
DECIDED HE WAS A BAD ACTOR.
SHE DIDN'T BUY ANY OF HIS
EXCUSES.
I THINK SHE GAVE HIM A HARSH
SENTENCE, BUT SHE REALLY FELT IT
WAS DESERVED.
SHE WANTED TO SEND A MESSAGE
THAT CORRUPTION WILL NOT BE
TOLERATED.
WILL THIS MESSAGE BE HEARD IN
ALBANY, DO YOU THINK?
>> TIME AFTER TIME WE HAVE THE
CORRUPTION CASES.
WE HAVE STRONG SENTENCES BEING
HANDED OUT.
NOT A LOT SEEMS TO BE CHANGING.
YOU CAN ONLY HOPE THAT, YOU
KNOW, KIND OF AS IT DRIPS DOWN
THE LINE THAT EVENTUALLY THE
LEGISLATURE WILL PASS THE LAWS
THAT MAKE IT HARDER TO DO THIS.
>> BY THE WAY, COULD HE APPEAL?
>> YES, HE GETS ONE APPEAL.
THAT IS HIS RIGHT.
I DON'T ANTICIPATE HE'LL BE
SUCCESSFUL THERE.
THE JUDGE DIDN'T MAKE ANY
MISTAKES IN HER RULINGS.
I THINK THE CONVICTION WILL BE
AFFIRMED.
>> AS YOU SAID, MOST OF THE
300,000 PLUS DOLLARS THAT HE GOT
WENT THROUGH HIS WICHLT WHY
DIDN'T SHE GET INDICTED.
>> WE DPOENLT KNOW.
CHARGING SOMEONE AND CONVICTED
THEM BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
IS A VERY HIGH STANDARD.
THEY MAY HAVE THOUGHT THEY
DIDN'T HAVE THE PROOF SHE KNEW
THAT, YOU KNOW, SHE WAS THIS WAS
AN EASY JOB BUT SHE KNEW IN
EXCHANGE HER HUSBAND WAS
ACTUALLY ABUSING HIS POSITION OF
TRUST AND GIVING THEM FAVORS.
>> IT COULD BE POLITICAL.
I MEAN WOULD IT HAVE LOOKED BAD
TO THE JURORS TO BE CONVICTING
THE HUSBAND AND THE WIFE?
>> WELL, THAT TENDS TO NOT SWAY
PROSECUTORS.
>> THIS IS THE LAST CASE THAT
THEY PUT OUT FOR POLITICAL
CORRUPTION.
YOU ARE CONFIDENT THAT THERE
WILL BE THE SAME KIND OF ZEILE
TO GO AFTER POLITICAL CORRUPTION
IN ALBANY AFTER THIS?
>> I THINK SO.
I THINK WE HAVEN'T SEEN MANY
CASES COMING WITH THE NEW U.S.
ATTORNEY.
HASN'T BEEN IN PLACE FOR VERY
LONG.
I HAVEN'T HEARD THERE IS ANY
CHANGE IN FOCUS.
I HAVE TO HOPE THAT TO THE
EXTENT THAT THERE IS STILL
CORRUPTION GOING ON, WHICH I
THINK THERE, IS THAT THE OFFICE
WILL CONTINUE TO BRING CASES.
>> YOU KNOW, THERE ARE RECENT
REPORTS THAT MICHAEL COHEN,
PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER
PERSONAL LAWYER, IS COOPERATING
WITH THE SOUTHERN DISTRICTS OF
NEW YORK CO. THAT HAVE
SIGNIFICANT REPRECUSHIONS FOR
THE PRESIDENT BEYOND THE RUSSIA
PROBE?
>> IT COULD.
THAT'S WHY HE IS HANDING OFF
JOBS TO OTHER DISTRICTS THAT ARE
NOT WITHIN HIS MANDATE.
MANHATTAN IS WHERE THE TRUMP
ORGANIZATION IS BASED.
THE FACT THAT SOUTHERN DISTRICT
HAS MICHAEL COHEN COOPERATING
WITH THEM, MEANS HE COULD BE
TELLING THEM WHAT THE PRESIDENT
IS INVOLVED IN IN THE PAST.
TAX FRAUD, ACCOUNTING FRAUD,
OTHER CORPORATE CRIMES.
THAT'S WHY TO ME IF MICHAEL
COHEN IS COOPERATING WITH THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT, IT COULD BE
VERY MEANINGFUL IN WAYS THAT
HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE
RUSSIA PROBE.
>> AND WHERE ARE WE LIKELY TO
FIND OUT IF THERE WILL BE THOSE
REPRECUSHIONS?
>> WE'LL SEE.
WE'LL SEE.
IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO DEVELOP
THESE CASES.
YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR WITNESS AND
START THINKING ABOUT WHAT THERE
MIGHT BE AND THEN YOU HAVE TO
GET THE DOCUMENTS TO BACK IT UP.
AND MAYBE GIVE IMMUNITY LIKE
THEY GOT ON THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE
CASE A WHILE AGO.
SO WE'LL SEE HOW IT SHAKES OUT.
BUT I EXPECT THAT SOUTHERN
DISTRICT WILL WANT TO LOOK AT
SOME OF THOSE THINGS.
WE'LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE WHAT
THEY FIND.
>> ALL RIGHT.
VERY INTERESTING.
JENNIFER, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US ONCE AGAIN.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

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