Updated 03/11/2010 09:55 PM
Cuomo recuses himself in Paterson investigation, appoints former chief judge
Amid growing political pressure, State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is recusing himself from two investigations into the Administration of Governor Paterson. Our Michael Scotto has the story.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- After interviewing dozens of witnesses and looking over countless documents, State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has decided to hand the reigns of his investigation into the Paterson Administration over to an independent counsel, former Chief Judge Judith Kaye.
"We have determined that there are credible issues that need to be resolved. In addition, an immediate resolution of these matters does not now appear to be at hand," said Cuomo.
The decision to have Judge Kaye conduct the probe will likely insulate Cuomo from criticism and bolster the impression that his office is conducting a fair investigation. Cuomo insisted his role in the case did not create a conflict, but even though Paterson has decided not to seek a full-term, there were likely political concerns, since Cuomo is expected to run for Governor this year.
In recent days, there have been calls from Paterson's allies and Republicans alike for Cuomo to recuse himself from the probe. And a recent poll showed Cuomo's strong popularity taking a hit as a result of his role in the investigation.
"I understand the political environment and I understand politics in New York and I understand that it is incredibly important the public have 100 percent confidence that this investigation is being handled properly," Cuomo said.
Judge Kaye said she would act fairly and thoroughly. Governor Paterson's attorney said the Governor would fully cooperate.
One investigation centers on allegations that the Governor intervened in a domestic violence case involving his top aide and that aide's girlfriend. The other is looking into whether Paterson lied about receiving tickets to last year's World Series.
One good government watchdog said Cuomo made the right decision.
"Given the political climate that exists out there that it was a right thing, given the fact that he's rumored to be running for governor, for him to step aside," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.
As for when Cuomo will make an announcement about his political future, the Attorney General says he wants to wrap up the work that currently sitting on his desk.