By Michael Pearson, CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is firing back at federal prosecutors after the Department of Justice announced criminal charges against two of his senior staffers for misusing government resources in the 2016 campaign.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Cuomo said “the only people who have done something wrong are the two people who were charged.”
Cuomo called the DOJ’s announcement “a work of fiction.”
Cuomo, a Democrat, was attending a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday when he was contacted by the AP. He answered the phone, saying he could not respond to the DOJ’s announcement about the two aides, one of whom, Alain Kaloyeros, was once the president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, a state-run entity.
The other, Joe Percoco, was the governor’s former top aide. They are accused of using taxpayer resources to help Gov. Cuomo’s political campaign, including a job offer to a Cuomo campaign donor in one instance. Percoco was also charged with receiving $315,000 in bribes in connection with his lobbying work on behalf of New York-based Competitive Power Ventures, a utility company seeking a state-controlled power plant.
The action comes the same day federal prosecutors announced federal charges against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Lawyers for Percoco, a one-time staffer in Cuomo’s office, did not respond to requests for comment. Percoco’s lawyer, Barry Bohrer, previously characterized the accusations against his client as an “extraordinary case of retaliation” and said Percoco would plead not guilty. Percoco resigned from the governor’s office in June 2016.
Christie’s attorneys, meanwhile, called the federal complaint “false and baseless” and said he would plead not guilty.
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