New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who considers himself a champion of women’s rights, asked his state’s attorney general to suspend an investigation into the handling of a sexual misconduct case of Harvey Weinstein just six days after receiving a $25,000 campaign donation from Weinstein’s attorney’s law firm.
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Barbara Underwood confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the probe into whether Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. mishandled allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein has been put on hold, per Cuomo’s direction.
The AG’s spokeswoman, Amy Spitalnick, claims Cuomo’s reasoning for halting the probe was to allow Vance to focus on his ongoing prosecution of Weinstein in another case.
The tangled web of money and prosecution goes back to 2015 when Weinstein’s lawyer allegedly gave Vance’s office $10,000 while he was running for his third term in office.
The donation came just months after Vance declined to prosecute Weinstein on sexual assault allegations, according to an International Business Times review of campaign finance documents.
The campaign donation came from one of Weinstein’s attorneys, David Boies, and is only part of the $182,000 that Boies and his firm, Boies Schiller & Flexner, have given Vance in his political career, according to the campaign finance documents.
Now, less than a year after the report about Boies’ donations erupted, Cuomo is inserting himself in the entanglement as reports surface that Boies’ firm donated $25,000 to Cuomo’s campaign in June. (RELATED: ACLU Defends The NRA Against Andrew Cuomo’s ‘Blacklisting Campaign’)
This donation came just six days after Cuomo sent the letter to Underwood’s office to suspend the Vance investigation.
In total, Boies and his firm have donated nearly $245,000 to Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaigns since 2009, according to state records obtained by Capital and Main.
Cuomo’s office has denied that the donation and the suspended investigation are related.
“No contribution of any size influences any government action,” Dani Lever, Cuomo’s press secretary, told Fox News. “The reported story about a recent contribution from David Boies’ firm to Governor Cuomo is completely irrelevant to any pending attorney general’s investigation or prosecution because Boies stopped representing Harvey Weinstein as early as November of 2017.”
The Boies Schiller & Flexner law firm also has denied any connection between the two circumstances.
“Neither Mr. Boies, nor anyone from his firm, ever discussed Harvey Weinstein or Mr. Vance with Mr. Cuomo, or anyone from his office, at any time,” a spokesperson for Boies Schiller & Flexner told Capital & Main.
“Mr. Boies is a longtime supporter of Mr. Cuomo and his contribution in June was consistent with his contributions to Mr. Cuomo over years past.”
After other outlets picked up the potential connection between the donations and the suspended investigation, Cuomo’s office issued another statement: “The attorney general’s investigation was suspended to avoid situations in which Weinstein’s defense attorneys would be able to constantly petition the attorney general’s office for information about what they uncovered and undermine a criminal prosecution.”
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