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Cuomo says he talked to ‘relevant parties’ about Moreland

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks about ongoing economic

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks about ongoing economic development in western New York at the University of Buffalo's South Campus on Monday, July 28, 2014, in Buffalo. Photo Credit: AP / The Buffalo News, John Hickey

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday confirmed he had discussed public criticism of his role in his corruption commission with “relevant parties” he wouldn’t name, and won’t comment further during a federal investigation.

Cuomo confirmed a letter from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara first reported by The New York Times that advises Moreland commissioners to refrain from further comment. The letter surfaced after Cuomo and some commissioners made public comments Monday supporting the governor’s role, which was criticized as interference in a July 23 Times story.

“We are aware of the letter sent by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District,” Cuomo started. “The New York Times published a story last week that generated a wave of news reports across the state, some with numerous inaccuracies, and we wanted to correct them.

“We discussed these concerns with relevant parties,” Cuomo stated. “Several members of the commission (district attorneys and a law school dean) issued personal statements to correct the public record.  These statements reiterated comments they had made over the past year.

“As I believe the U.S. Attorney has made it clear that ongoing public dialogue is not helpful to his investigation, we will have no additional comment on the matter,” Cuomo said.

The Times reported the letter as read to a reporter states: “We have reason to believe a number of commissioners recently have been contacted about the commission’s work, and some commissioners have been asked to issue public statements characterizing events and facts regarding the commission’s operation.”

“To the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness’s recollection of events relevant to our investigation, including the recollection of a commissioner or one of the commission’s employees, we request that you advise our office immediately, as we must consider whether such actions constitute obstruction of justice or tampering with witnesses that violate federal law,” the Times reported, quoting the letter.

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