The state’s attorney general said there was “nothing unusual” about Governor Andrew Cuomo sending aides to the state archives to remove documents about his record as attorney general.
Speaking on the Brian Lehrer Show on Wednesday, state attorney general Eric Schneiderman said it is common for officials at the end of their terms to go through documents and make sure privileged or confidential information such as names of informants have not been transferred to the state archives and into public view.
“The document got out, and others will opine on this, but there is nothing unusual about going through a set of documents to check them for attorney-client privilege, for confidential information to make sure that once they get to the archives they’re not released to the public inappropriately,” he said. “My understanding is that there are documents that got through without having been checked before they were released to the archives, and they went back and checked them.”
He later added, “I’m not aware of anything that makes that illegal.”
Schneiderman said that as former Attorney General Cuomo would have legitimate grounds for making internal documents that included the names of confidential informants and sensitive notes on criminal investigations.
The Times Union first reported on Sunday that Cuomo’s aides removed files associated with the 2007 probe into whether state police were being used for political purposes. The removal of the documents, the paper reported, comes as Cuomo’s name is being bandied about as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
The memo was obtained by the Times-Union and is a summary of the so-called Troopergate investigation.
The governor's office responded to the Times-Union report in a 1,300-word letter published online that states Cuomo "began the process of sending his records to the Archives before leaving office and the production is consistent with that of his predecessor as Attorney General."
Listen to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's full interview on The Brian Lehrer Show:
Bob Hennelly contributed reporting