The latest report is that State Senate Republicans have been warned by their “counsel” not to “do anything stupid,” like talk to the FBI, or any other of Preet Bharara’s investigators without a lawyer present
Does that mean something new is coming Marty Golden’s way ? — Or are the rest of the GOP’s NYS Senators now in the same boat as Marty Golden and Dean Skelos ? What is attorney David Lewis' advice really all about ?
At the same time, more than a dozen state lawmakers told the Daily News that they are fuming over what they say is Bharara’s tarring of the entire Legislature for pervasive corruption, and also looking into issues of NYS governance going far beyond the scope of his Federal office
Preet Bhara has said that as far as he can tell, there’s almost zero self-policing going on in the NYS Legislature — And also this: NYS Legislators have to change their own rules, or they will "... become even more of a mockery, with indictment after indictment...."
According to a Kenneth Lovett report in today’s Daily News, “State Senate Republicans have been warned by their counsel not to “do anything stupid,” like talking to the FBI or other investigators without a lawyer present.... As crusading U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara zeroes in on Albany, [GOP Senate] counsel David Lewis, who is also a private defense lawyer, gave the stern advice to Republican members [of the State Senate] during a recent closed-door session....” (See “... GOP warned not to 'do anything stupid' like talk to feds without lawyer, source says” by Kenneth Lovett, 2/16/15, NY Daily News
ADVICE TO GOP STATE SENATORS: TELL THE FEDS THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TALK TO THEMLovett’s report went on to say that “...[t]he briefing came after then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested last month on federal corruption charges and a subsequent report that Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos is also being investigated. *** ... , ‘It’s such a serious time, you have to be extremely careful,’ said one senator who was in the room. *** He said, ‘If someone knocks on your door, you don’t have to talk to them,’ the GOP [State Senator] said.”
What is not clear is whether the advice given by David Lewis, the “State Senate’s counsel” was to benefit each of the GOP State Senators, individually, or just ones like Majority Leader Dean Skelos or Senior Senate Member Marty Golden, both of whom are actually under current investigation by the U.S Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
DAVID LEWIS’ “LEGAL” ADVICE FOLLOWS MORE GENERAL COMPLAINTS ABOUT PREET BHARARA’S TACTICSThe problematic legal advice being given out by David Lewis begins to look a little different complexion when it is taken in the context of other push back by various Albany insiders. According to one of Ken Lovett’s other recent reports, “...[m]ore than a dozen state legislators, legislative officials and other insiders interviewed by the Daily News give credit to Preet Bharara for targeting Albany wrongdoing but are fuming over what they say is the powerful prosecutor’s publicity seeking, tarring of the entire Legislature, and wading into governance issues far beyond the scope of his office (See “Albany lawmakers cry foul over Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's tactics” by Kenneth Lovett, 2/14/15, NY Daily News [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/albany-lawmakers-upset-bharara-methods-article-1.2115710]). Or to put it more succinctly — “It’s the backlash against Bharara....” However, it should be noted that most of “lawmakers”, had agreed to be interviewed only on condition that their names not be used.
Here’s a specific example of one “lawmaker” who did speak relatively openly : “[If y]ou want to target corruption? God bless you,” said [longtime Golden ally, IDC Democrat State Senator]. Diane Savino (D-S.I.). “That’s what you’re supposed to do. But the fact there’s some corruption in the Legislature does not mean we all are corrupt. And the rest of us don’t appreciate the comparison.” Quite apart from the almost audible whinyness of her statements, what else would anybody expect somebody like Diane Savino to say under the circumstances ?
Taking a longer view was a State Senate Republican, who said, “He’s going far beyond the role of a prosecutor.... If you find people having a conflict of interest or making money illegally, go for it. But ‘three men in a room’? It’s not for a U.S. attorney to be commenting on a system of government....”
Maybe, yes and maybe no.
Preet Bharara certainly disagrees with that anonymous Republican State Senator. According to Ken Lovett, “During recent public appearances, Bharara [has gone] out of his way to mock Albany’s “three-men-in-a-room” governing style in which the governor, Senate [M]ajority [L]eader and Assembly [S]peaker negotiate most budget and major policy decisions behind closed doors. During the MSNBC interview, he took a poke at Silver’s forced resignation as speaker by noting that “the membership in ‘the room’ seems to be changing....”
ACCORDING TO U.S. ATTORNEY PREET BHARARA, “...THERE IS A BETTER CHANCE OF A [NY] STATE SENATOR LEAVING OFFICE IN HANDCUFFS THAN BY LOSING AT THE POLLS...”Lovett’s description of the Federal prosecutor’s approach is unequivocal — “Bharara, the Manhattan U.S. attorney, has often spoken of systemic ethical problems in Albany, calling it a “cauldron of corruption” and once saying that the very core of the state Capitol is an ‘overabundance of greed, cronyism and self-dealing.’ He said there is a better chance of a state senator leaving office in handcuffs than by losing at the polls. *** He also recently tantalized the public and taunted the Capitol by telegraphing more arrests were on the way when he said ‘stay tuned’ after announcing criminal charges against then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver....”
Bharara is neither shy nor retiring about any aspect of his quest against corruption anywhere in government and anywhere in New York State. For example, “...[t]hree weeks after charging Sheldon Silver in a bribe and kickback scheme that prompted the Manhattan Democrat to step down as Assembly speaker and after putting six other downstate legislators in prison, Preet Bharara told The Buffalo News last week that the evidence he has seen shows corruption is appallingly common throughout New York State – and not just in New York City....” (See “Bharara sees corruption ‘all over’ New York State” by Jerry Zremski. 2/14/15, The Buffalo News/ City & Region [http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/albany-politics/bharara-sees-corruption-all-over-new-york-state-20150214]).