Tug of War & Tension


>>>GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS APPOINTED A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE THE ALLEGATIONS OF NOW FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN. NASSAU COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY MADELINE SINGAS WILL TAKE ON THE RESPONSIBILITY. HIS ABRUPT RESIGNATION AS FOUR WOMEN ZAELT THEIR EXPERIENCES OF FABZ TO THE NEW YORKER. THE APPOINTMENT OF A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR DIDN’T SIT WELL WITH CYRUS VANCE WHO DISAGREEWOOD THE GOVERNOR’S SUGGESTION THAT HIS OFFICE SHOULD BE REMOVED DUE TO CONFLICT OF INTEREST. THE CLFB OF INTEREST OF COURSE REFERS TO THE FACT THAT SCHNEIDERMAN AND HIS OFFICE HAD BEEN INVESTIGATING VANCE’S OFFICE FOR THEIR HANDLING OF ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT BY MOVIE MOGUL HARVEY WEINSTEIN. A COMPLEX SITUATION TO SAY THE LEAST. TO STRAIGHTEN IT OUT WE ARE WELCOME BACK JENNIFER ROGERS WHO HELPS US UNDERSTAND ALL THE LEGAL ISSUES, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PUBLIC INTEGRATE AT COLUMNY LAW SCHOOL AND FORMER PROSECUTOR. IT SEEMS WE ALWAYS HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NOTION OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST. I’LL GET INTO THE SPECIFICS IN A MINNESOTA. PUT ON YOUR LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR HAT. AND GIVE US A GENERAL EXPLANATION OF WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN TERMS OF LAWYER’S ROLES IN A CASE.>>A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IS ANYTHING THAT STOPS SOMEONE FROM BEING IMPARTIAL IN THE INVESTIGATION IN PROSECUTION. AND THEY TEND TO BREAK DOWN INTO TWO CATEGORIES. ONE IS FINANCIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. LET’S SAY YOU’RE A STOCK HOLD NER A CERTAIN COMPANY. YOU OUGHT NOT INVESTIGATE THE COMPANY OR THE CEO OF THE COMPANY BECAUSE YOU HAVE A FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME OF THAT PROSECUTION. THE OTHER BUCKET IS KIND OF PERSONAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. YOU SHOULDN’T PROSECUTE YOUR BROTHER-IN-LAW. YOU SHOULDN’T PROSECUTE SOMEONE WHO GOT IN A FIGHT WITH YOUR BROTHER-IN-LAW. ANYTHING THAT BRINGS UP MOTIVES TO DECIDE THINGS ONE WAY OR THE OTHER OUTSIDE OF THE REALM OF THE CASE COULD BE A POTENTIAL PERSONAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST.>>LET’S LOOK AT THE SPECIFICS OF THIS CASE. THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID ESSENTIALLY TO CYRUS VANCE, THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, WE DON’T THINK IT’S A GOOD IDEA FOR YOU TO HANDLE THIS BECAUSE OF THIS — EITHER ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED CONFLICT OF INTEREST. EXPLAIN — I MS. MENTIONED HARVEY WEINSTEIN. EXPLAIN WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS TALKING ABOUT THERE.>>SO A FEW MONTHS AGO THE GOVERNOR SAID THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE SHOULD INVESTIGATE THE D.A.’S DECISION IN THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN CASE BACK IN 2015 THERE WAS AN ALLEGATION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AGAINST HARVEY WEINSTEIN. THE DACHEL D.A.’S OFFICE LOOKED AT IT DECIDED NOT TO PROSECUTE. THAT’S THE DECISION THE GOVERNOR SAID THEY WANT TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT AND MAKE SURE THAT THAT DECISION WASN’T TAINTED BY CAMPAIGN DONATIONS MADE BY HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S LAWYER TO CY VANCE. THAT WAS A FEW MONTHS AGO. CRITICALLY TO ME THAT INVESTIGATION HADN’T STARTED YET. SCHNEIDERMAN’S OFFICE JUST GOT THE FORMAL REFERRAL A FEW DAYS AGO AND HADN’T STARTED THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE D.A.’S DECISION.>>THE D.A., CYRUS VANCE SAYS THERE IS NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST BECAUSE ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN IS NO LONGER THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. AND HE SAYS AS A CONSEQUENCE MY OFFICE IS PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF HANDLING THIS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT ARGUMENT? WHAT’S THE STRENGTH OF IT, THE WEAKNESS OF IT.>>I ACTUALLY THINK THAT ETHICS PROFESSIONALS WOULD BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NO ACTUAL CONFLICT HERE FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS. ONE THE INVESTIGATION THAT CY VANCE WOULD DO THAT AND THAT MADELINE IS GOING TO DO IS AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE PERSONAL CONDUCT OF ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN AND HE IS GONE.>>NOT HIS OFFICE.>>CORRECT ALTHOUGH A PIECE OF IT WAS WHETHER OR NOT HE UTILIZED THE RESOURCES OF THE OFFICE AS PART OF THIS. BUT ALSO THE INVESTIGATION HADN’T STARTED YET AS I SAID. SO THERE REALLY IS NO CONFLICT. IT’S NOT THAT HE IS INVESTIGATING SOMEONE WHO IS INVESTIGATING HIM. SO I DON’T THINK THERE IS AN ACTUAL CONFLICT. BUT THAT LEAVES THE QUESTION OF WHETHER IT’S JUST CLEANER AS A PERCEIVED CONFLICT MATTER TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DO THE WHOLE THING.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT. BECAUSE AS YOU KNOW IN THE REALM OF ESPECIALLY LAWYERS AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AND EXPANDING INTO POLITICKING FIGURES AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST. WE TALKED ABOUT ACTUAL CONFLICT WHICH MENTIONED BUT WE ALSO TALK ABOUT THE APPEARANCE OR THE IMPRESSION OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. APPLY THOSE NOTIONS TO THIS SITUATION AND D.A. VANCE.>>THAT’S WHERE IT GETS FUZZY AND YOU CAN’T SAY THAT KICKING THE CASE TO SINGAS IS WRONG. BECAUSE WHAT DOES THE PUBLIC THINK EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO CONFLICT.>>I GIVE CY VANCE FOR TRYING TO DEFEND HIS INDEPENDENCE. UMPING HE IS RIGHT THERE IS NO ACTUAL CONFLICT AND HIS OFFICE COULD DO THE INVESTIGATION WELL AND THERE WOULD BE NO REAL PROBLEM. AT THE SAME TIME I ALSO SEE THE GOVERNOR’S POINT OF LOOK LET’S MOVE IT SOMEWHERE ELSE SO THERE IS NO ISSUE.>>AND THE NOTION OF MAKING IT CLEANER AND MAKING THE — EVEN THE APPEARANCE DISAPPEAR MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. BUT MY GUESS IS YOU YOU WERE A PROSECUTOR I WAS A EI WAS A PROSECUTOR. IF YOU ARE THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY CYRUS VANCE YOU ARE SAYING — YOU’RE TAKING A SHOT AT MY INTEGRITY HERE. THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT APPEARANCES AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST. BUT THIS IS ESSENTIALLY SAYING EVEN NOT SAY GOING IN SO MANIWARDS WE DON’T TRUST YOU TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. I WOULD SUSPECT THAT’S A COMPELLING FEELING FOR A DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO HAVE TO STRUGGLE WITH.>>ABSOLUTELY. I THINK HE IS WARRANTED IN PUSHING BACK AND SAYING I’M INDENT, I HAVE INTEGRITY AND THERE IS NO GET THIS WOULD BE DONE THE RIGHT WHICH. HE WAS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL. HE WAS ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN TO PROSECUTOR CASES ARISING IN MANHATTAN. HE IS RIGHT TO PUSH BACK AND DEFEND HIS OFFICE AND HIS SWEATING. I BELIEVE HE WOULD HAVE DONE IT WELL. I JUST THINK IT’S GONE NOW. AND I DO THINK THE D.A.SINGHAS WILL DO A GOOD JOB AND WE’LL HAVE TO SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT.>>JFRP IT’S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO CHAT. WE’LL LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING WITH YOU AGAIN. YOU BE WELL.
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>>THANK YOU.

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