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Good government groups alright with citizens paying for Cuomo's defense attorney

Jun 01, 2021 6:33 am

Spectrum News reports that good government groups surveyed believe that it is appropriate for taxpayer money paying Elkan Abramowitz, the defense attorney representing Gov. Andrew Cuomo against allegations that he covered-up deaths from COVID at nursing homes. “There will be times, and this is certainly one of them, when using public funds to pay for a governor's defense is tough to swallow, but taxpayers pay for public defenders for accused murders,” John Kaehny of ReInvent Albany said. “Additionally, we strongly support public financing of political campaigns, and it would be inconsistent to ask a governor to raise money for a legal defense, when we don't want them to do so for a campaign.” Blair Horner, executive director of NYPIRG, agreed. “Like any public official, he's entitled to the coverage of legal costs relating to his role as governor. He is presumed innocent,” said Horner. “If convicted, however, he will be on the hook for reimbursing the taxpayers. The decision to provide such coverage should be done openly and publicly.” Susan Lerner, executive director of New York Common Cause, said she would prefer Cuomo form a Legal Defense Fund, like President Bill Clinton did. “It’s a way to raise money from his donors for the stated purpose of providing him with the best lawyers money can buy, if that’s what he is looking for,” she said. “At the federal level, elected officials who run into problems, whether its campaigns or outside activities, are required to set up Legal Defense Funds.” The state legislature would have to pass a law to make that possible. Read more about this story at the Spectrum News website.