The Buffalo Chronicle posted last month that Preet Bharara planned "to indict Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 2nd — along with a half dozen associates and former staffers — on public corruption, racketeering, conspiracy, and honest services fraud."
Well, it's January 2 - a Saturday - and the courts are closed, US Attorney Preet Bharara is getting ready to address the Kentucky legislature next week over ethics and Governor Cuomo's schedule reads:
Governor Cuomo is in Albany
The day's not over yet, of course, but you'd have to be loopy from Easter egg hunts at the governor's mansion to think a grand jury is going to indict the governor on a Saturday, one day after New Year's Day, or that a previous indictment will be unsealed today and revealed publicly.
So much for the Buffalo Chronicle story.
That said, this doesn't mean those looking for Cuomo to follow his two amigos, Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos, to criminal court should lose heart.
There are plenty of reasons to keep a close watch on where Preet
Bharara goes next now that he's got Shelly Silver convicted on
seven corruption counts and Dean Skelos on eight corruption counts.
The first reason is the reported investigation into Cuomo's alleged tampering with the Moreland Commission, for which Cuomo lawyered up, hiring "prominent white-collar criminal defense lawyer Elkan Abramowitz" to represent his office in the investigation.
The second is the investigation into Cuomo's Buffalo Billion Project - with subpoenas having gone out to Cuomo donors and state entities involved in what appears to be a rigged bidding process.
The third is how defensive the Cuomo administration is about the investigation (see here and here).
The fourth is the probability that if the feds start nosing around into Cuomo's donor base, they're going to find an awful lot of interesting stuff there, especially around all that Glenwood largesse.
The fifth is Bharara's refusal to let Cuomo off the hook publicly when asked if he's investigating the governor.
There you have five good reasons to keep watching the news wires for leaks about the Moreland investigation or the Buffalo Billion Project investigation that indicate the governor could have some legal trouble coming down the Thruway.
There are no guarantees on any of this, of course, and Bharara may decide that he doesn't have anything in either investigation and nothing comes of any of this.
But Bharara has a way of working with leaks that tends to set the stage for coming events (i.e., eventual criminal charges.)
He did it with Shelly Silver (leaking news of a federal investigation into the speaker one month before the criminal charges were filed in January), and he did
it with Dean Skelos (leaking first in January, then again in May right before
the criminal charges were levied against Skelos.)
The September leaks about the Buffalo Billion investigation and the subpoenas to Cuomo's donors and state entities involved in the Buffalo Billion Project bidding process were not good signs for Governor Cuomo's administration, that's for sure.
Those leaks didn't spout up from nowhere and if the pattern in the Silver and Skelos leaks is followed here, they're not the last we're going to get.
So keep hearts, folks - January 2nd may have come without a Cuomo indictment, but the governor's not out of the woods yet by a long shot.
We may have a Merry Preetmas yet.