Governor Andrew Cuomo received a $ 25,000 check from a law firm that previously represented Harvey Weinstein less than a week before suspending an investigation into the handling of the accusations against the disgraced movie mogul.
According to Page Six, Cuomo received the check from Manhattan-based firm Boies Schiller and Flexner on June 20, according to the state Board of Elections website.
Cuomo announced in March that he had entrusted the NYPD with investigating DA DA Manhattan's decision not to prosecute Weinstein after Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutiérrez accused him of having groped her in a hotel three years ago.
Within a week, Cuomo stopped the investigation.
In a letter sent in June to Attorney General Barbara Underwood, Cuomo asked him to suspend the investigation for six months because it could possibly interfere with a separate criminal case against Weinstein derived from newspaper articles last year in which numerous women claimed to have been assaulted sexually by the producer.
Governor Andrew Cuomo quietly suspended an investigation into the handling of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office of an accusation of armed fraud in 2015 against Harvey Weinstein
The model Ambra Battilana Gutiérrez accused him of having groped her in a hotel three years ago, but the producer was not prosecuted at that time
At the time, Vance said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the producer despite the fact that the audio recording supported the accusation.
A spokesperson for Boies Schiller & Flexner, who also made a contribution of $ 25,000 to the Cuomo re-election campaign in 2017, defended the donations when approached by Page Six.
"Neither Mr. Boies, nor anyone in his company, ever discussed Harvey Weinstein or Mr. Vance with Mr. Cuomo, or anyone in his office, at any time," the spokesman told the political publication in Capital and Main line.
"Mr. Boies is a long-time supporter of Mr. Cuomo and his contribution in June was consistent with his contributions to Mr. Cuomo in recent years."
A Cuomo spokesman said: "The Attorney General's investigation was suspended to avoid situations in which Weinstein's defense attorneys could constantly request information from the attorney general's office about what they discovered and undermine a criminal prosecution."
"As we said when the Governor ordered the Attorney General to investigate the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, it should not interfere with the ongoing criminal prosecution of the district attorney," Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever told BuzzFeed News.
"Given the recent indictment and prosecution of Harvey Weinstein by the District Attorney, the Attorney General's investigation has been postponed for six months."
Earlier this month, Weinstein was charged with predatory sexual assault and other charges after the women reported that she had assaulted them. The producer appeared before the court in June to plead not guilty to three felony counts.
Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted.
An Underwood spokeswoman confirmed that she had been asked to temporarily suspend the Prosecutor's investigation to avoid any interference with the ongoing prosecution of the Harvey Weinstein Prosecutor.
The spokeswoman said that they remain committed to "carrying out a thorough, fair and independent review."
It is not clear how long the criminal case against Weinstein will take place in court, with BuzzFeed suggesting that it could take months or even years.
Earlier this month, Weinstein was charged with predatory sexual assault and other charges stemming from allegations of sexual assault of women. He was photographed in a court in New York City on June 5, where he pleaded not guilty to three counts of felonies.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood is handling the investigation into the handling of the Weinstein case by the prosecutor.
In a March statement, Cuomo asked the then attorney general Eric Schneiderman will analyze Vance's handling of Weinstein's groping accusation in 2015.
At the time, Vance defended his decision not to prosecute the film's producer by saying there was not enough evidence even though there was an audio recording of Weinstein admitting that he grabbed Gutierrez's chest.
Vance's office underwent further scrutiny in October after the news detailing the allegations of dozens of women who said they had been attacked by Weinstein.
Schneiderman handled the DA investigation until May, when he resigned hours after the New Yorker published a story that he had allegedly physically abused four ex-girlfriends. Then, Cuomo instructed Underwood to direct the investigation.