One of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) top advisers may have just landed himself in deep trouble.
The Washington Examiner reports that Charles Lavine, the man leading the New York State Assembly’s impeachment inquiry into Cuomo, has threatened a top aide to the governor with “severe repercussions” for a recent tweet that Lavine said “sends a chilling signal” to potential witnesses in the case.
“Everyone gets that”
The tweet in question was published by Richard Azzopardi on July 11. In it, the senior adviser to Cuomo blasted union boss John Samuelsen for retracting his own support of the governor amid a host of ongoing scandals.
Azzopardi went on to reference New York Attorney General Letitia James, who the Cuomo aide accused of putting her political ambitions first as she heads one of two investigations into claims of sexual harassment against the governor. The other, led by Assemblymember Lavine, remains ongoing in the state legislature.
“Sameulson [sic] is an extortionist who is trying to undo pension reform,” Azzopardi wrote.
“We also understand he is a political supporter of Tish James and she says she may run against the governor, and he wants more benefits in his contract,” he added. “Everyone gets that.”
In a letter to another top Cuomo staffer, Melissa DeRosa, Lavine lambasted Azzopardi over the tweet, which he said “attempts to demean the Attorney General,” according to the Examiner.
Lavine said he’d warned back in March that “in so sensitive a matter, it is both obvious and imperative that neither you nor anyone associated with you engage in intimidation, retaliation, or any attempt at intimidation or retaliation against any complainant or potential witness.”
“It is therefore difficult for me to comprehend your communications director tweeting that Attorney General James, whose office is conducting a parallel investigation, ‘says she may run against the governor,’” Lavine wrote, according to Fox News.
“Sends a chilling signal”
“It is obvious that attempts to demean the Attorney General serve as well to undermine the investigation and send profoundly negative signals to witnesses,” he added.
Lavine went on to say that Azzopardi’s tweet “sends a chilling signal to any potential witnesses” and “may merit severe repercussions.”
It remains unclear, however, whether Lavine will actually take action, or if yet another misdeed by the New York governor’s office will simply be swept under the rug.