Publisher’s Corner: Andrew Cuomo appears to be off the hook … for now

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo pictured at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

The problem, of course, is that sometimes we see political actors behave in ways that they really didn’t intend to. “Huh,” you say. Okay, so take Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. He tried to bring charges against Andrew Cuomo for the former governor’s alleged unwanted and inappropriate touching of a former aide. In doing so, he acted the part of the Lone Ranger without choosing to cooperate with other top law enforcement people. Albany District Attorney David Soares, who was left out of the sheriff’s decision-making, made it clear that he didn’t think that the sheriff had dotted his I’s and crossed his T’s in bringing the charges. Let’s also member that DA Soares was conducting his own investigation into the complaints against Cuomo. That’s been in all the papers. So why didn’t Apple seek cooperation between the two criminal justice agencies? It’s nonsense to think that he didn’t have the time.

It was very strange that the Apple brought his charges against Cuomo without consulting DA Soares, the man who would have to prosecute the case. Soares is no friend of Cuomo’s. He is a man who tries to do the right thing. I know him well enough from his appearances on WAMC to tell you that. We have certainly seen examples of Soares saying “no” when someone wants to use the law for political retribution. He did exactly that when Cuomo tried to get him to bring charges against some folks for standing on the lawn outside the Capitol. Additionally, it turns out that Apple, who says that he conducted a thorough investigation, didn’t talk with Cuomo’s attorney either.

I know Soares pretty well and I have to tell you that the guy has guts. Look at it this way — the DA excels in doing what’s right as opposed to what’s political. Would you have it any other way? I know that Soares has not received the funding from the governor that he really needs to clean up Albany. Not only that, Cuomo is not particularly popular these days among the politicians who have made their displeasure with him pretty clear. It takes some guts on Soares’ part to stand up to all those folks who, rightly or wrongly, want to hang Cuomo out to dry. Trust me, he has very little to gain for suggesting that he would not follow up on Apple’s proposed indictment.

That means that the accusing sheriff may be seen as conspiratorial on the side of the anti-Cuomo group, something that he certainly (and probably truthfully) denies. I am willing to take him at his word but why would he not bring in the DA, who will certainly have to prosecute Cuomo with him.

A lot of sitting politicians seem to be worried about Cuomo potentially resurrecting his faltering career. We all know that Cuomo has it within him to get even. So let’s wonder for a moment why the sheriff didn’t want to partner with DA Soares.

I have great respect for Sheriff Apple and this just doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose it is possible that Apple wanted to cement his relationship with those politicians who have unified against Cuomo. The Sheriff of Albany County is not exactly the top of the food chain. People in politics are almost always looking up to the next spot. My impression is that up to now, Apple is not that kind of politician. Another possibility is that Apple really did think that Cuomo should have been punished for what he did. That’s fine, but why he didn’t do it the right way is above my pay grade to figure out.

The happiest man around has to be Cuomo, who would appear to be off the hook, at least for now.