Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

Cuomo Redux? Will Andy finally achieve Cuomolot?

October 27, 2009

There was a great article in the New York Post by Charles Gasparino about Andrew Cuomo (so far) less then illustrious career. Gasparino notes that Cuomo is currently the media darling (so was Elliott Spitzer at one point) and that looking at the facts of his career might tell a different story then what the media is peddling right now.

The article which seems to be  a teaser (at least in my mind) for Gasparino’s forthcoming book, “The Sellout” about the financial crisis   promises more about Cuomo’s responsibility for the financial meltdown we are living thru. The article is a brief synopsis of Cuomo’s career and hints that Cuomo is less than his current reputation.

There is a passing note about how Cuomo’s Trooper Gate investigation into Spitzer and companies’ misuse of NYS Troopers “never lived up to its initial promise”. I agree and I still can’t believe that Cuomo conducted that investigation without ever even interviewing Governor Spitzer or trying to take testimony from witnesses under oath. (He did allow 2 important witnesses to submit written statements to his office) I’ve know lots of Assistant District Attorneys and Law Enforcement personnel over the years and one thing they all agree on is that interviewing  an actual witness ( i.e. Spitzer) in an investigation like this is a good thing.  Spitzer readily submitted to an interview by the Albany County DA who was aklso investigating the scandal.

Trying to take witness testimony under oath is an even better thing.  First off, questioning a witness face to face whenever possible is just standard procedure in law enforcement.  Also note, witnesses under oath are more likely to tell the truth during an investigation because they fear being charged with perjury if they lie. These are essential tools in the prosecutor’s toolbox and Cuomo didn’t bother trying to use them.  Questioning witnesses face to face and taking sworn testimony from witnesses are the underlying foundations for investigations/prosecutions all over America.  Look at any good TV show about cops and prosecutors, it’s that simple.

I can understand why Cuomo didn’t learn this since when he was employed as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County unlike most ADAs in NYC he neglected to complete the standard 3 year commitment to be an ADA. People took this commitment seriously when I practiced criminal law, No one wanted to break the commitment especially after only the 14 months as an ADA that Cuomo served.  As per Cuomo his boss, Robert Morgenthau, the District Attorney of New York County (Dem-Senile) had no problem with Cuomo leaving after (approx.) 14 months because of  Cuomo’s  (as per Cuomo) prior public service and that that was what he and Cuomo had previously agree on before Cuomo became an ADA. Note, Morgenthau’s letter to Cuomo regarding his resignation doesn’t seem to mention this understanding. Yeah, Cuomo got a pass that other politically unconnected ADAs (who didn’t have fathers that were sitting Governors) never would have received. Apparently, most of Cuomo’s prior public service consisted on working on his father’s political campaign.  As someone who lived in NYS during the years Mario was Governor my opinion is that helping Mario Cuomo run (ruin?) did not constitute a public service.  (Name one important achievement of Mario Cuomo during those years they did not involve rewarding the powerful NYS unions, growing government at a reckless pace or raising taxes.)

Speaking of the benefits of being the Governors’ son, Andy Cuomo after leaving the DA’s office became partner in a law firm and soon young Cuomo who had never practiced law in the private field before flourished. Clients flocked to the firm. Can we blame Andrew for cashing in on the fact his father was Governor?

P. Diddy’s new rap version of “Send in the clowns(?lawyers)”.

October 16, 2009

Saw a great article in the NY Post today about P. Diddy accidently tossing a diamond ring into a crowd of fans in a mid-town studio. If losing a ring worth $20,000.00 wasn’t bad enough it was allegedly decided to frisk the crowd/fans of about 160 by security staff before they were allowed to leave. The Post story also contains some Twitter posts from crowd members and they didn’t seem too happy.  One Twitter post quoted in the Post story noted “When it was over, diddy held us hostage looking for his lost ring. don’t like him anymore.”

Losing the affection of fans may be the least of Diddy’s worries. How long do you think it will be before the crowd “lawyers up” and sues everyone in sight? This could be a nightmare for Diddy since any insurance he might have may well not apply to this situation leaving him to hire lawyers to defend any lawsuits out of his own pocket.

There was a case awhile ago reported by the Village Voice in which a bunch of kids on their way to a funeral were stopped and frisked by the NYPD. In the end the City of New York ended up paying $257,000 to 16 of the kids/plaintiffs. That works out to approx. $16,000 per plaintiff. In the Diddy matter there seem to be approx. 160 potential plaintiffs. If the all settled for $16,000 it comes out to a total of $2,560,000. That doesn’t include the fees and expenses of lawyers to defend the claims which could add a few hundred thousand more dollars to the potential total. So whoever make the (alleged at this point) decision to frisk the audience essentially ended up risking over $2.5 Million dollars to recover a $20,000 ring. That’s just bad decision making.  But there may be a silver lining, these days those who make bad financial decisions are eligible for government bailouts.

One final note (if the story is true) whoever made the decision to frisk the audience or carried out the frisking could possible by guilty of the crime of Unlawful Imprisonment. It has been years since I practiced criminal law but if you unlawfully prevent someone from leaving a place against their will you might be charged with this crime. It may well be that the New York County District Attorney’s Office will look into this situation. According the Diddy Wikipedia page that office previously indicted and failed to convict Diddy on weapons charges stemming from an incident at Club New York in 1999. Prosecutors tend to have long memories and celebrity defendants are tempting/career making targets.