New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said politics tainted the actions of top state police brass, but his 18-month probe of the department found no proof of a so-called "rogue unit" or wrongdoing by rank-and-file troopers.
An investigation that cost untold state dollars found no proof of a rogue unit that allegedly did the political bidding of former Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The unit supposedly watched and harassed Spitzer's political enemies, particularly former Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
But Cuomo reported that Daniel Wiese, a former State Police colonel who once headed the governor’s bodyguard detail, exerted inappropriate influence at the agency long after he retired to take a job at the New York Power Authority, the report said.
Cuomo also said three ex-officials declined to cooperate with his investigation and asserted their rights against self-incrimination. Cuomo is now looking into possible obstruction of justice at the New York Power Authority.
Wiese was fired as NYPA inspector general in May 2008 shortly after the probe began.
The investigation into the alleged "rogue unit" was sought by several Republican and Democratic senators and Democratic Gov. David Paterson, who said he heard rumors of such a unit for years and wanted it fully investigated.
Paterson had said suspicions about political misdeeds by an element of the state police included accusations by "more than 10" unidentified lawmakers who said troopers followed and stopped them for traffic infractions. One lawmaker complained that he was stopped for speeding and, before he drove home, the incident was already mentioned on a blog.
Allegations about a rogue unit arose during the so-called troopergate scandal in which Bruno accused Spitzer of political espionage using state police to track his use of state aircraft on days he attended GOP fundraisers.
There have been no convictions under criminal statutes in that case that helped to gridlock state government for most of 2007. Spitzer resigned in March of 2007 after he was named in an unrelated federal investigation of prostitution.