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Comedy tonight

The New York State Capitol building in Albany,

The New York State Capitol building in Albany, seen here on March 19, 2014. Credit: Bloomberg / Ron Antonelli

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Daily Point

Who will prosecute the prosecutors?

After three years of trying, the State Senate and Assembly passed a bill this year that would establish a commission to investigate prosecutorial conduct. Now that ball is in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s court, and Long Island’s district attorneys, along with pretty much all the state’s district attorneys, are crying foul.

The argument for it, advanced most aggresively by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is that district attorneys and their offices have tremendous power that too often goes unchecked and can lead to systemic corruption of the kind former Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota stands accused of in federal court.

One argument against it is that the grievance committees in each of the state’s appellate divisions already can discipline district attorneys. Another is that it would be highly political, with eight of its 11 members appointed by either the governor or a member of the State Legislature, and might stymie charges of official corruption and other crimes brought against politically powerful or connected people.

“Prosecutors are not against oversight,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Wednesday, “and the grievance committees do need to do a better job. But if the premise is that the grievance process does not work, it needs to be improved for all the state’s attorneys, not just the prosecutors, and not in a way that is expensive and duplicative.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini feels much the same and said, “You’re not going to find a DA who approves of this in New York. There is a disciplinary process in place for lawyers.”

Cuomo has yet to tip his hand on whether he will sign the bill.

Lane Filler

Talking Point

Even New Yorkers were fooled

Facebook suspended 32 pages and accounts this week because of “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The social media giant didn’t say who was behind the fraudsters, but pointed to connections and behavior similar to that of the Russian group that wreaked havoc during the 2016 campaign.

One of those pages, Resisters, was active in New York. A sample Resister post released by Facebook on Tuesday was a “Trump Nightmare Must End” event in Times Square on Nov. 4, 2017. “History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late,” the invitation reads.

If you’re an Alex Jones acolyte, you might remember that this was the weekend when antifa was going to take over America. That hysteria didn’t happen, but an event did take place in Times Square. A Newsweek write-up says that a little more than 300 people attended.

The Trump-era protest group Refuse Fascism also posted a Facebook item urging people to go to the event (some 5,000 expressed their interest), and the Newsweek article mentions its real-world presence that Saturday. Refuse Fascism, which has some supporter and rhetorical ties to the protest staple Revolutionary Communist Party, nabbed headlines for recent protests in NYC, such as one on Tuesday, when people dressed up in “Handmaid’s Tale” outfits to protest Vice President Mike Pence.

It all goes to show the difficulty, even for always-savvy New Yorkers, of sorting through the confusion: malevolent foreign actors agitating people looking to exercise their right to protest and those already arguing fervently about issues.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

Reading Rudy

Bonus Point

Mic drop

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that the new National Comedy Center is now open in upstate Jamestown. Funny, we thought one had been open for years in Albany.

Michael Dobie