New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) sent aides to the state archives to pull records from his time as the state’s attorney general, The New York Timesreported on Tuesday.
Among the files being taken out of public view are documents connected to “Troopergate,” the investigation by Cuomo’s office regarding a state police inquiry against then-state senate majority leader Joseph Bruno, saying they were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Cuomo’s office is also pre-emptively vetting all documents sent to the archives for material it says is too sensitive to be seen in public.
The Albany Times-Unionreported that the move was prompted by its request for records covering three years of Cuomo’s tenure as attorney general; special counsel Linda Lacewell reportedly spent eight hours in the records room going through documents. A former state archivist, Lawrence J. Hackman, said the practice was cause for concern.
“I don’t remember anything like this ever happening,” he told the Times-Union. “I don’t remember an instance of that kind of direct intervention and then removal of records that were accessible after the fact. It’s certainly very concerning, and it drives me toward the conclusion that … if you don’t have a statute to hold up to them in regard to gubernatorial records, you don’t have a chance.”
Cuomo’s predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, the subject of the state police investigation, told the Times he was torubled by the increased scrutiny from the current administration, prompting a statement from Cuomo’s office.
“The governor’s office does not respond to Eliot Spitzer,” the statement read. “But any first-year lawyer knows it is important to protect confidential informants and to preserve the attorney-client privilege.”
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