Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a letter to Acting Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. The text of the letter is below:
May 8, 2018
Honorable Barbara D. Underwood
Acting Attorney General of the State of New York
Albany, New York 12224
District Attorney of Nassau County
262 Old Country Road
Mineola, NY 11501
Acting Attorney General Underwood and District Attorney Singas:
The integrity of our justice system is of paramount importance. News of former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's alleged improprieties as the State's chief legal officer are grossly disturbing and must be fully investigated. The brave women who chose to come forward deserve swift and definitive justice in this matter.
Accordingly, pursuant to Executive Law § 63(2), I hereby require that the Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas be designated Special Prosecutor and Special Deputy Attorney General (hereinafter "Special Prosecutor") to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute, any and all matters concerning the public allegations against Mr. Schneiderman, as reflected in the New Yorker article dated May 7, 2018 titled "Four Women Accuse New York's Attorney General of Physical Abuse," as well as any matters that may arise from this investigation. Ms. Singas is the former head of the Special Victims' Bureau at the Nassau County District Attorney's Office and the founding member of the Domestic Violence Bureau at the Queens County District Attorney's Office, so she has specific and extensive expertise in this area.
In addition to investigating the specific allegations outlined against Schneiderman in the article, the Special Prosecutor shall investigate facts in the article suggesting that the Attorney General staff and office resources may have been used to facilitate alleged abusive liaisons referenced in the article.
The Special Prosecutor shall have the powers and duties specified in subdivision 2 of section 63 of the Executive Law for purposes of this review, and shall possess and exercise all the prosecutorial powers necessary to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute the alleged incidents. The Special Prosecutor shall work with District Attorney Tim Sini of Suffolk County regarding the incident that reportedly occurred in the Hamptons located in Suffolk County. In addition, the Special Prosecutor shall work with any other District Attorneys who have relevant fact patterns. The Special Prosecutor's jurisdiction will displace and supersede the jurisdiction of the New York County District Attorney's Office ("DANY"), as there appears, at a minimum, an appearance of a conflict of interest with the Attorney General's Office, which is currently investigating the relationship and actions between DANY and the New York Police Department and their handling of alleged illegal acts including sexual harassment and assault, by producer Harvey Weinstein. There can be no suggestion of any possibility of the reality or appearance of any conflict or anything less than a full, complete and unbiased investigation. The victims deserve nothing less. Accordingly, in relation to the matters at hand, the DANY shall have only the powers and duties designated to it by the Special Prosecutor as specified in subdivision 2 of section 63 of the Executive Law.
Thank you for your immediate attention in this matter and full cooperation. I request that District Attorney Singas address this as a top priority.
Andrew M. Cuomo