A top aide of scandal-ridden New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) could be in trouble.
State Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D), who is leading one of the impeachment inquiries into Cuomo, has just threatened Cuomo aide Richard Azzopardi with “severe repercussions” for a recent tweet that could negatively impact the impeachment investigations, the Washington Examiner reports.
“My response: ‘Samuelson is an extortionist who is trying to undo pension reform. We also understand he is a political supporter of Tish James and she says she may run against the governor, and he wants more benefits in his contract. Everyone gets that,'” Azzopardi tweeted on July 11.
According to the Examiner, “Samuelson” is a reference to union boss John Samuelsen, who, shortly before Azzopardi posted the message, announced that he would no longer support Cuomo, given the multiple scandals the governor faces. Azzopardi was apparently going after Samuelson for withdrawing his support.
However, it’s what else the tweet contains that has landed Azzopardi in potential trouble.
Tish James is short for New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), and she is currently leading an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations that have been leveled against the embattled governor.
It seems clear that in his message, Azzopardi was accusing James of trying to further her political career with the high-profile Cuomo investigation.
Lavine, just last week, wrote a letter to Melissa DeRosa, another top Cuomo aide, addressing the developing situation. In the letter, Lavine revealed that he had previously issued a warning to Cuomo and his associates essentially telling them not to do what Azzopardi did.
“In so sensitive a matter, it is both obvious and imperative that neither you nor anyone associated with you engage in intimidation, retaliation, or any attempt at intimidation or retaliation against any complainant or potential witness,” Lavine wrote, Fox News reported. Given the warning, Lavine said that it is “difficult” for him “to comprehend” Azzopardi’s tweet.
“It is therefore difficult for me to comprehend your communications director tweeting that Attorney General James, whose office is conducting a parallel investigation, ‘says she may run against the governor,'” Lavine added.
Lavine suggested that the tweet “sends a chilling signal to any potential witnesses.” Accordingly, Lavine wrote that Azzopardi’s tweet “may merit severe repercussions.”
We’ll have to see if Lavine follows through on the threat. So far, nothing has come of it.