NY Assembly had ‘detailed discussions’ about Cuomo book deal

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The New York state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee on Monday had “detailed discussions” with its outside lawyers about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $5.1 million book deal — and it could spell trouble for former top aide Melissa DeRosa, sources told The Post.

The committee has been probing whether Cuomo improperly used state resources to write his memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” as part of its impeachment inquiry into the three-term Democrat.

“There’s no question that the lawyers have evidence about using taxpayer resources to prepare the manuscript,” a source close to the assembly probe said.

The evidence in question, according to the source, includes emails from DeRosa about “instructions she gave to the staff in the governor’s office to help with the manuscript for Cuomo’s book being pitched to publishers.”

“They clearly have evidence and interviews with staff about Melissa DeRosa instructing them to help with the manuscript,” the source said.

DeRosa, 38, resigned Sunday night amid criticism over her attempts to discredit the governor’s accusers, detailed in state Attorney General Letitia James’ scathing report on Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment of several women.

Reports in March said that DeRosa and fellow top aide Stephanie Benton, as well as junior staffers, assisted the governor with his memoir, which was published in mid-October.

Crown Publishing has since paused promotion of “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” because of a federal investigation into the Cuomo administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, which the impeachment inquiry also covers.

“One of the publishers expressed amazement that the governor had the time to prepare a manuscript in the middle of the COVID crisis,” the source said Monday.

A second source close to the Judiciary Committee said it will be simple to determine whether there was any wrongdoing when it comes to Cuomo’s book deal.

“It definitely came up. Either you did or didn’t do it. There was talking about staff working around the clock and on weekends…,” the source said. “Our lawyers (on the Judiciary Committee) are pursuing it.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) on Monday said the committee plans to wrap up its impeachment investigation “with all due haste” in the wake of James’ explosive report. He would not commit to a timeline for a vote, but said the articles of impeachment would be drafted in the next few weeks. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D-Nassau) also said that the wide-ranging investigation by the committee’s outside lawyers was continuing into other allegations against Cuomo, including relating to his pandemic memoir.

Assembly David Weprin (D-Queens), who is on the Judiciary Committee, also said there was “no question” the outside lawyers were looking into whether Cuomo used state workers to help prepare and promote his memoir.

“That’s government 101. You can’t do non-government work on government time,” Weprin told The Post. “That’s stuff our lawyers are looking at. No question.”

Both James’ office and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office are also probing the book deal.

Spokesman Rich Azzopardi has previously said that “the idea there was criminality involved here is patently absurd on its face and is just the furthering of a political pile-on.”

In a statement Monday, Azzopardi added: “As I previously said, any state official who volunteered to assist on this project did so on his or her own time and without the use of state resources. To the extent a document was printed, it was incidental.”

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