For years, federal prosecutors have gone after Albany politicians one by one, taking on lawmakers such as Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger and, most recently, Malcolm Smith.
Now, federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District are pursuing a broader strategy—“an assault on the criminal opacity of Albany,” in the words of one Justice Department official. As part of that approach, prosecutors could take the unusual step of producing a grand-jury report on systemic public corruption in the state capital.
The broad reach of prosecutors’ interest was evident in the development of the case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the scope of their investigation is likely to unfurl in coming months—in the form of a report or, more likely, a series of cases.
In the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, at least a dozen prosecutors are working on the probes, which include an inquiry into a former state senator in Buffalo, according to people familiar with the investigations.
Some of that work stems from records turned over by the Moreland Commission, these people said, but much of it preceded or has been conducted concurrent with that panel’s efforts.
And it is because of the multipronged nature of the office’s investigations that it could consider a special grand-jury report. Such a report is more commonly used in situations in which a special grand jury—one impaneled for long-term investigations that can consider extensive evidence in a number of cases—finds widespread misconduct by public officials or conditions for organized crime in a district.
Bharara clearly has it in mind to destroy Andrew Cuomo.
Even if he can't or won't charge him with crimes, threatening a grand-jury report on widespread systemic corruption in Albany that took place, in part, under Sheriff Andy's watch, will ensure Cuomo's career is destroyed.