Can justice be delivered in 140 characters or fewer?
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara—fresh off a conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last month and closing arguments in the corruption case of former Senate Leader Dean Skelos this week—tweeted for the first time today, sending Albany Twitter into a tizzy with a reference to his vow to clean up state politics.
“As alleged, this is my official Twitter account. And this, allegedly, is my first tweet. Stay tuned. . .” Mr. Bharara, the federal prosecutor with jurisdiction over New York’s Southern District, wrote. (His press office told the Observer that Mr. Bharara wrote the message himself.)
Mr. Bharara first told New Yorkers to “stay tuned” after the arrest of Mr. Silver—saying the fight against public corruption was “unfinished.” A few weeks later, his office brought charges against Mr. Skelos. The pair of men were two of Albany’s “three men in a room”—along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo—who decide on the passage of major legislature and the government behind closed doors. It is a power structure Mr. Bharara has repeatedly criticized.
The crusading prosecutor makes news pretty much whenever he speaks these days. But his tweet today was especially interestingly timed—it was not only posted while the jury deliberates in the Skelos case, but also as Mr. Cuomo spoke at a major economic development event in Albany.
Mr. Bharara is reportedly looking into state economic development deals in Buffalo dubbed the Buffalo Billion, and into Mr. Cuomo’s role in shutting down the Moreland Commission, a panel of prosecutors the governor put together to sniff out corruption but disbanded prior to any arrests. (Mr. Cuomo said the true goal was to force ethics reform legislations in Albany and, once accomplished, the commission could be disbanded.)
The conviction of Mr. Silver—who had served in Albany nearly 40 years—represented a major victory for Mr. Bharara, particularly since some experts wondered if there was enough evidence to prove a true quid pro quo. Mr. Silver was convicted of trading state research grants for lucrative legal referral fees, and disguising kickbacks from luxury real estate developers with business before the state as more legal fees, and of laundering the money. Mr. Skelos, meanwhile, is accused of using his office—and his influence over real estate legislation in particular—to secure no-show jobs for his son, Adam Skelos.
Check out the tweet below: