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ALBANY -- A co-chairman of the state’s corruption commission denies Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo or his top aide ever stopped an investigation or improperly pressured the panel of prosecutors.
“He didn’t direct me to do anything,” said commission co-chairman William Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, in an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Syracuse.com.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Cuomo and his top aide, Lawrence Schwartz, dissuaded the commission’s co-chairman from investigating Cuomo’s big donors and instead directed the focus on legislators. The story included an email from Fitzpatrick:
"The 2d Floor [Larry] needs to understand this is an INDEPENDENT commission and needs to be treated as such," the Times reported. "Everything we discuss does not need to be fed back to Floor 2 ... I am not wasting 15 months of my quickly shortening life to write some silly report that Lewis and Clark couldn't find in five years!"
But in an interview Wednesday Fitzpatrick, a Republican, struck a tone that matched his previous public comments. He said Cuomo and Schwartz were helpful and necessary, although there were momentary disagreements.
“It wasn't like Larry Schwartz ever directed me to subpoena or not to subpoena,” Fitzpatrick said.