Top GOP lawmaker calls for update on AG probe into Cuomo’s COVID memoir

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Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finally gone — but the pending probes against him haven’t been forgotten.

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-Lockport) has called on Attorney General Letitia James to update the public on her investigation into Cuomo’s suspected misuse of state resources in writing and promoting his $5.1 million coronavirus memoir.

In a letter obtained by The Post, Ortt hailed James for her “deliberate and thorough report” on the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, which led him to resign and leave office in disgrace at the end of Monday.

Ortt said the findings exposed Cuomo’s “major abuses” and “helped move our state forward.”

“However, New Yorkers are still looking for — and deserve — answers,” he wrote Monday.

“As New York State’s chief legal officer, I respectfully request that you provide the public an immediate update on your ongoing investigation into whether Governor Cuomo did indeed misuse state resources for his own personal monetary gain.”

"American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic" by Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo got $5.1 million for his COVID-19 memoir.
Crown via AP

In April, the AG’s office confirmed it had opened a criminal probe into whether Cuomo had state employees work on his book “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” and James said it was still underway when she released her 168-page report on Aug. 13.

The investigation was launched in response to an official request from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who gave James “the authority to prosecute the person or persons believed to have committed … any crime or offense” related to “the fiscal concerns of the state.”

Earlier in April, the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington also filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections that accused Cuomo’s campaign of illegally promoting sales of his memoir.

The 16-page complaint cited an Oct. 11 campaign email, signed by Cuomo’s three daughters, that included a link to purchase the book, as well as more than $65,000 in campaign spending on workers, consultants and email services around the same time.

“The law is clear that you cannot spend campaign funds for your own personal benefit,” CREW president Noah Bookbinder said at the time.

Cuomo’s resignation led Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) to pull the plug on a nearly completed impeachment investigation by the Judiciary Committee, but Heastie said last week that the committee “will continue to review evidence and issue a final report.”

Attorney General Letitia James opened a criminal probe into whether Andrew Cuomo had state employees work on his book.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File

“In doing so, the committee will take all appropriate steps to ensure that this effort does not interfere with various ongoing investigations by the United States Attorney concerning nursing home data; the attorney general concerning the governor’s memoir; and local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions — Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego — regarding possible criminal incidents of sexual misconduct,” he added.

James’ office declined to comment but a source familiar with the matter said her probe was ongoing. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing in the scandals that contributed to his ouster.

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