“I would say the walls are closing in on Mr. Hevesi,” Columbia University law professor John Coffee told Bloomberg News yesterday, citing the recent plea deals for some of the intermediary players in the pension fund’s pay-to-play scandal. That could mean they’re now cooperating witnesses on a case that goes all the way to the top of the office. “It doesn’t take a bloodhound following this trail to anticipate the payer was trying to influence the discretion of the highest official in the organization.”
Andrew Cuomo would certainly prefer you to think of him as a bloodhound on Mr. Hevesi’s tail. Yesterday, Mr. Cuomo cited his “ongoing investigation” into Mr. Hevesi’s former office as one of the primary reasons the Attorney General should have more power to police Albany.
“You have a whole office, you have qualified attorneys, attorneys who have proven themselves to be effective, and they are once again today. Give them the authority and the jurisdiction to actually do the policing of politicians in Albany. Sometimes it’s that simple.”
Professor Coffee think that Mr. Hevesi is not the only one boxed-in by Mr. Cuomo’s high-profile pursuit of the former comptroller.
“It is almost difficult for Cuomo and his staff to justify not going higher,” he said. “The claim will be made in a future election: Why didn’t you go after the Democrat who got that money? You open yourself to some criticism, particularly in an election year.”
An indictment now would be a well-timed political move for Mr. Cuomo, what with the conviction of former Senate majority leader Joe Bruno stoking outrage over goings-on in Albany.