NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In a sign of solidarity, the Manhattan district attorney sat alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday as the governor outlined the investigation of abuse allegations against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Cuomo wants to know whether state resources were used to harass the alleged victims.
“I’ve also asked the district attorney to look at the attorney general office itself,” he announced Thursday.
As the governor managed to get Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to hand the prosecutorial baton over to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, he also expanded her responsibilities as special prosecutor in the sexual assault case against the state’s former top lawman, Kramer reported Thursday.
Singas told Kramer she will be looking into whether “at any time he used his office or office resources in furtherance of alleged crimes.” She said, among other things, she will investigate the allegations that Schneiderman reportedly warned one accuser “he could have her followed and her phones tapped.”
The drama of the expanded probe competed with the drama of three prosecutors sitting with the governor — Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, assigned to investigate Schneiderman’s sexual relationships in the Hamptons, Singas, the special prosecutor, and Vance, removed by Cuomo because Schneiderman had been looking into the Manhattan DA’s alleged mishandling of the Harvey Weinstein case.
“You want to avoid even the appearance or perception of a conflict,” the governor said.
Before Thursday’s kumbaya moment, Vance questioned Cuomo’s right to replace an elected DA with a special prosecutors He was asked whether he changed his mind.
“The issue of process around replacing an elected DA with a special prosecutor is something to be used rarely,” he said. “I disagreed in that moment with the governor’s decision.
“But after having had an opportunity to talk with the governor,” he continued. “I felt the better course of action was to, whether I have the perfect legal argument or not, is to not slow things down, cloud the issues by making legal arguments.”
Vance said he immediately started his investigation after reports surfaced about the sexual abuse. He said the probe lasted just 12 hours before he was taken off the case.
He also said several subpoenas were issued and that information will be turned over to the special prosecutor.