New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron Advises Former NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Illegally Investigated Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas
Could it be that disgraced Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was not just a bully in the bedroom, but also in the Court Room?
State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s decision in the case against Mayor Richard Thomas suggests it to be so. The judge said that, “If this Court were forced to decide whether or not he” referring to New York State Attorney General Schneiderman had the authority to investigate the matters at hand, it would decide that it did not,” asserted Justice Engoron.
This powerful point is anchored in the dismissal of Thomas’ Article 78 petition to temporarily stop the grand jury from proceeding until the question over jurisdiction was been answered and defined. Transcripts reveal that Justice Engoron asked the Office of Attorney General (OAG) to agree to not indict Thomas before a ruling could be made; however, the OAG went ahead and indicted Thomas anyway.
This seemingly brazen act raises serious questions with respect to due process which will be explored in another upcoming article. For now, it should be noted to be rare for any judge to rule that the Attorney General did not have the authority to do something. Even though Supreme Court Justice Engoron did not expand on the illegality of the OAG’s prosecution of Mayor Thomas, a New York Times article bolsters the Hon. Engoron’s position by saying, “Under state law, the attorney general cannot unilaterally investigate public officials for breaking campaign finance rules, violating ethics laws or even taking bribes. As a result, major investigations of New York officials … have been conducted chiefly by district attorneys or federal prosecutors with jurisdiction over bribery, kickbacks, and other criminal forms of corruption. ”The (New York) Times” added that, “The attorney general [lacks] standing to investigate allegations of criminal violations of election law, or to investigate the … failure to disclose outside income.”
With these clear parameters and limitations, why then did the former disgraced Attorney General Eric Schneiderman attack Mayor Thomas? Was it a political hit job? If this is true, then was Schneiderman part of a long running conspiracy to turn Thomas into a public villain? Thomas has long been known as a brash brawler among the political establishment, often fighting to save Mount Vernon from remaining a victim of back-room deals. The stench behind this twisted narrative leads straight toward the old guard, targeting Thomas for unearthing valid and real corruption at Memorial Field and derailing the gravy train of kickbacks from streetlight contracts to building department permits.
Though it is too early to tell, this process suggests that Thomas was undermined and wrongfully vilified in order to transform him into the “villain” by a false narrative that deflects attention from the real culprits, the true villain who are attempting to place a noose about Thomas’ neck. This is the saga of a political assassination attempt.
The #MeToo movement blasted Schneiderman for being a hypocrite, and the potential abuse of power displayed in the Thomas matter feels like Schneiderman was part of a conspiracy to ruin the young man’s life and career for his own self gain. Removing Thomas would benefit dirty politicians who would ultimately back Schneiderman for governor in 2022, which Thomas allegedly was eying before he was hit with accusations and indicted by the OAG.
If Mr. Schneiderman had followed the legal procedures established by the New York State Legislature, the matter would have been referred to the State Board of Elections for investigation by its politically independent Chief Enforcement Officer, Risa Sugarmen, who would have quickly determined that none of the issues flagged were criminal in nature. Missing in this media frenzy on Thomas are cold hard facts. Having interviewed Thomas and being familiar with the nameless, faceless groups who spin fables for a living, I am deeply skeptical about the situation surrounding an innocent, young family man and believe it stinks from Albany to White Plains and Mount Vernon.
The judicial courts and the court of public opinion owe it to themselves to look carefully at the Thomas matter and rethink the falsehoods by focusing over facts as they will with certainty, albeit slowly emerge.