By Jill Colvin
DOWNTOWN — Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo and his successor as attorney general Eric Schneiderman are planning a comprehensive ethics reform agenda that will likely include an independent ethics watchdog and an independent prosecutor, Cuomo said after the pair's first official meeting Friday.
"The people in the state of New York are fed up and enough is enough," Cuomo told reporters gathered downtown in the ornate lobby of the attorney general’s New York City office.
"They want Albany cleaned up," Cuomo said. "That is the best way."
As the law currently stands, neither the attorney general’s office nor the inspector general’s office have the authority to independently launch investigations into Albany lawmakers. Cuomo said he plans to introduce the ethics reform during the first legislative session.
Cuomo also reiterated that he is 100 percent against plans to hold the trials of Khalid Sheik Mohammad and four other alleged 9/11 terrorists in New York and said he would use his clout in Washington to fight it.
"I know the people in the federal government," he said, highlighting his work with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in the Clinton administration.
"I will advocate, forcefully, for our position," he said.
Schneiderman dutifully backed Cuomo's stance.
The meeting of the two men — their first since the election — lasted about 45 minutes, Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said. The two discussed the office, priority cases, personnel, and other details, Cuomo said. He also praised his successor.
"I think he’s going to be an outstanding attorney general. I look forward to working with him," Cuomo said.
Schneiderman, who seemed tired after moths of hard campaigning, had fewer words.
"As someone who is going to be representing you for a long time, I’m very pleased to see how circumspect you are," Schneiderman said simply to Cuomo.
He added that he is "just starting the process" of getting up to speed on the office, but intends to follow in Cuomo's footsteps.