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Gov. Cuomo Defends Handling Of Corruption Panel

FILE - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FILE – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is defending his handling of an anti-corruption commission, dismissing reports that his administration interfered with its work.

His comments Monday in Buffalo were his first since The New York Times reported last week that a top Cuomo aide pressured commissioners to stop subpoenas to a media-buying firm that Cuomo used and to a real estate organization whose members financially supported his campaign. Cuomo’s office had said a commission created by the governor can’t investigate the governor’s office.

Cuomo said Monday the now-defunct Moreland Commission made its own decisions and that his office only offered suggestions. Cuomo, a Democrat, created the commission a year ago and dismantled it this spring.

One of the commission’s chairmen, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, said Monday that Cuomo’s office never interfered.

State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said the allegations amount to criminal obstruction of justice.

Federal prosecutors have begun investigating the roles played by Cuomo and members of his staff in the commission’s demise.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has questioned the disbanding of the commission and said his office will review its files.

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