New York attorney general Cuomo recuses himself from governor Paterson investigation

Friday, March 12, 2010

Andrew Cuomo (Circa 1997).
Image: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that he will recuse himself from the investigations involving incumbent Governor David Paterson. The probe involves two separate incidents. The first one regards Paterson's handling of a domestic violence allegation that was directed at one of Governor Paterson's top aides, David Johnson. The case became public when The New York Times reported in February that Paterson had "influenced" the alleged victim in the case to drop her allegation. There were also reports that the State Police had engaged in witness tampering. The other incident involves whether or not the New York Governor unethically received several tickets to the World Series.

Attorney General Cuomo recused himself because of a conflict of interests that might arise should he personally handle the investigation. Cuomo is expected by many to announce his candidacy for the upcoming gubernatorial election this November. While this could have meant that he would be running against Paterson for the Democratic nomination, Paterson recently announced that he will not seek reelection. Paterson became governor in 2008, when then-Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught in a prostitution scandal. Spitzer resigned shortly after the affairs became public; allowing Paterson, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, to take the post. Paterson had announced his candidacy for reelection before removing himself from it when the allegations of wrongdoing arose.

Cuomo announced that after his recusal, Judge Judith Kaye would be in charge of the investigation. Kaye was the Chief Judge on the New York Court of Appeals from 1993 through 2008. Kaye was the first female ever to serve on the court. She currently works at a private practice for the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.