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NY AG Subpoenas State Ethics Board for Records on Cuomo Book

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New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, speaks during a news conference in New York, N.Y., August 3, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

New York attorney general Letitia James’s office has subpoenaed a state ethics board for records pertaining to former governor Andrew Cuomo’s memoir on the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

The grand jury subpoena, first reported by the Albany Times Union, was issued as part of a criminal investigation by the attorney general into whether Cuomo violated state law by having his staff work on the book. The specific focus of the subpoena was not immediately clear, and the issuance of the subpoena does not necessarily indicate that a grand jury is currently reviewing evidence in the investigation.

Cuomo special counsel Judith Mogul told New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics that staff would not be involved in production of the book, when the former governor requested approval for the project in July 2020.

However, senior aides and junior staffers worked on drafts of the book even before Mogul sent the request, according to early drafts of the memoir reviewed by The New York Times earlier this year. The book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, received an advance of over $4 million, people familiar with the matter told the Times.

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