Then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo dissuaded troopers from securing lawyers in 2008 during a probe of their agency, a former state police superintendent said in published reports Tuesday. Such a move could have been an ethics violation.
The New York Times and the Times Union of Albany reported that former Superintendent Pedro Perez said Cuomo had told him that appearing for questioning with lawyers would make it appear troopers had something to hide.
Cuomo disputes that account and says Perez was told that veteran state police counsel Glenn Valle couldn’t be used because Valle would be questioned.
Cuomo was investigating then-Gov. David Paterson’s concern that a “rogue unit” operated within the state police on political jobs. The claim was never proven.
“Essentially what he told me was that as law enforcement officials we understood that if someone comes with an attorney, there is a presumption that they have something to hide,” Perez told The New York Times.
Cuomo spokesman Richard Bamberger said “no one in the attorney general’s office ever discouraged troopers from being represented by counsel.”
Another Cuomo spokesman, Josh Vlasto, said Valle’s representation would have been a conflict because he was to be a witness. Vlasto, citing provisions of law, said Cuomo was obligated to note the conflict and could have gone to court to keep Valle from representing troopers.