Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara drew parallels between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump during an interview promoting his new book "Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law.”
In the interview with the Albany Times-Union, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York touched on several topics, including Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Cuomo from Northern Westchester who was sentenced to prison time on corruption charges.
A South Salem resident, Percoco was convicted of accepting $300,000 in bribes from an energy company last year and was sentenced to six years behind bars. He reported to prison last week after his lawyers petitioned the court for a delay.
Bharara, now a CNN legal analyst and host of the “Stay Tuned” podcast, was fired by Trump in 2017 as the president purged holdovers from the Obama administration.
When asked about Cuomo’s comments that Bharara was “scalp-hunting” when he targeted Percoco, the former U.S. Attorney said that was “a bizarre and un-self-aware statement on the part of the governor, which is not surprising.”
“Look, we bring the cases that we're able to bring, we target people who are committing serious crimes,” he said. “And the idea that someone who employed as his top aide and had a particular reputation, and it was later proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the aide engaged in corruption — that somehow he's exonerated is a little bit reminiscent of some of the things that Donald Trump says about the people that he has chosen to bring into his orbit exonerates him. Dare I say it, there's a parallel between Trump and Cuomo in some regards.”
In a statement following Percoco's sentencing, Cuomo said it should “serve as a warning” to public servants who “fail to uphold” their oath as a public servant.
“I was an Assistant District Attorney and Attorney General, and the rule of the law is paramount,” he said. “Joe Percoco is paying the price for violating the public trust.
"And it should serve as a warning to anyone who fails to uphold his or her oath as a public servant. On a personal level, the human tragedy for Joe’s young children and family is a very sad consequence.”
The complete Times-Union interview with Bharara can be found here.
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