William Fitzpatrick

Advocacy groups are encouraged by recent statements made by the co-chairman of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission, who says he now favors public financing of political campaigns.

Syracuse-area Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is the co-chairman of Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, and says he has become a convert to using public funds to finance political campaigns.

  The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption is already making waves in Albany, as the media and the public react to what's coming out at its public hearings.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with the Commission's Co-chair, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, about the Commission's work and its possible impact on the state's politics.  He also addresses the charge that the Governor Andrew Cuomo is meddling in the Commission's affairs.

The Moreland Act Commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is releasing a preliminary report on public corruption in a few weeks. The commission is charged with investigating corruption in state governmental agencies, and has already gone after the state Board of Elections and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or J-COPE, at recent public hearings.

During an interview with Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, commission co-chairman and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says the commission's investigation has uncovered criminal activity.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Siena College poll this week shows that most New Yorkers don't know about the Moreland Commission, a panel of district attorneys and law enforcement officials investigating public corruption in Albany.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, says it doesn't bother him that many New Yorkers are unaware of the group's probes into public corruption. But he expects that'll change December 1, when the Moreland Commission releases it's report.

News reports in recent days portray Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on corruption as possibly going off the rails. Government reform groups say they are concerned and want some answers.

Cuomo appointed the Moreland Act Commission at the close of a legislative session that saw numerous lawmakers arrested, indicted and jailed for corruption, and with no agreement on any reform measures. Cuomo said at the time that he wanted wrongdoers punished, and commission co-chair, Syracuse area District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, described how that would be accomplished.

The second public hearing held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission to probe public corruption featured testimony from long time government reform groups. Many brought more evidence that they say shows potential corruption involving money and politics.

Protesters outside the hearing were advocating for public campaign finance reform, chanting “money out, voters in,” and displaying a wall of shame, featuring pictures and likenesses of dozens of politicians who’ve been indicted, arrested, convicted or jailed in recent years.

A commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate public corruption is holding its first series of hearings. At the kick-off event in New York City, a prominent figure in busting corruption in the legislature announced he’s found a back door way to confiscate the pensions of convicted state politicians.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A brutal murder and rape case that shocked central New York earlier this year is closed. In a plea deal with prosecutors, David Renz, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first degree murder and sexual assault charges in the death of Lori Bresnahan and the rape of a 10-year-old girl in a mall parking lot in Clay last March.  

The deal basically assures that Renz will spend the rest of his life in prison, said Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

Cuomo appoints commission to probe the legislature

Jul 3, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has joined forces with the New York State Attorney General to create a commission with wide ranging powers to investigate corruption in the state legislature. This move follows a legislative session during which nearly three dozen state lawmakers have been indicted, arrested, or jailed.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick was named a co-chair of the commission, and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney will serve as a member of the panel.

Juvenile records are automatically sealed in New York state, so they don't prejudice a prosecutor or judge, but state Sen. John DeFrancisco is proposing an exception. He wants those records be available to court officials if they involve sex crimes.

An Onondaga County grand jury has returned a 37-count indictment against the Cicero man accused of raping a 10-year old girl and stabbing a Liverpool woman to death last month. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Cheers are coming from all corners of central New York following the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act last week in Washington. The renewal of the law had been stalled for almost two years in the midst of House and Senate gridlock.

This week the State legislature passed and the governor signed into law a far-reaching set of prohibitions, restrictions, and tracking mechanisms regarding guns, making New York the first state to change its policies in reaction to the Sandy Hook school shootings.

In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick discusses how effective some of the provisions could be, some possible problems with their implementation, and which ones might be overturned through subsequent court challenge.

Reaction to New York's new gun control law from prosecutors is generally positive. For one central New York District attorney it closes some loopholes, but leaves others open.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A former Syracuse television sportscaster, and Syracuse University employee stands accused of unlawfully recording video of male student-athletes in a locker room, without their knowledge. 

The New York State Department of Health regulations outlawing  bath salts in New York state come on the heels of several local laws banning the designer drug.  The new regulations were announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday, but there could be more laws coming down the road.
 

Central New York law enforcement authorities and prosecutors are standing firmly behind a law pushed by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer that would get federal authorities involved in the witness intimidation investigating business. The Democrat senator from New York was in Syracuse to promote passage of the State Witness Protection Act, which would give prosecutors more tools to convince witnesses to come forward.

When the Manlius Swans had their eggs destroyed, there were numerous calls and letters demanding justice.

When 20-month-old Rashad Walker, Jr. was shot and killed in an apparent gang-related attack, there was silence.

What does this say about the state of gang violence in the Syracuse area, and the community's numbness - or fear - regarding it? Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick wrestles with this question, and also comments on some of the recent conflicts his office has had with other local public officials.

There won't be any charges filed in New York State against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine in the wake of an investigation by the Onondaga County District Attorney's office. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says the statute of limitations precludes that.  

Zach Tomaselli, the third man to come forward accusing former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse, will hold a news conference in Pittsburgh Thursday, where he's expected to announce that he is filing a civil lawsuit against Fine.

Ellen Abbott

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick held a news conference in Syracuse Wednesday, where he announced that his office is ending its grand jury investigation into sexual abuse allegations against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.

UPDATE: WRVO's Ellen Abbott caught up with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler Tuesday afternoon. Click "Listen" above to hear the raw audio. Note: The other voice you hear asking questions is Syracuse Post-Standard reporter Tim Knauss. 

Earlier story: Syracuse police, along with the Onondaga County District Attorney, the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Secret Service continue to investigate sexual abuse allegations against former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine. 

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