In the Bridgegate scandal, much has been made of what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew and when he knew it. But the other governor who also runs the Port Authority, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has long downplayed his knowledge of the scandal.
Documents filed Tuesday night by Bridgegate defendant Bill Baroni suggest that was a deliberate strategy.
Cuomo wasn't asked about the politically-motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge until three months after they occurred. "I don't know anything more basically than what was in the newspapers. This basically is a New Jersey issue," Cuomo told upstate radio station WCNY.
But now a new set of emails suggests that Cuomo's top appointees at the Port Authority were, two months before those remarks, actively discussing how to respond to the burgeoning scandal with top Cuomo aide Howard Glaser.
One of the suggestions? That Pat Foye, the Port Authority executive director, produce two different memos — one for the governor's office and a fake one that might some day be made public.
"How about the following — he types a detailed memo that he produces on his home computer, gives a hard copy to the 2nd floor and then type up a general memo for his files."
“Second floor” is Albany-speak for the floor of the state capitol where Cuomo and his top staff have their offices.
The email, penned by David Garten, the chief of staff to Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler, goes on to say: "that way we have a thorough documented account, it's in the 2nd floor's hands...and then a general memo at the PA in case we get subpoenaed."
The newly-released emails suggests a level of communication with the governor's office about the scandal that Cuomo has never acknowledged. Glaser is described as speaking with both Foye and Rechler, though it's unclear what Glaser relayed to Cuomo.
Cuomo's press office did not respond to inquiries about what he learned from Glaser. Glaser also rebuffed email and phone inquiries.
Two sets of memos, one real and one phonied up in case there's a subpoena.
Want to bet that's not the first time the geniuses in the Cuomo administration have come up with that strategy for something politically and/or criminally dicey?