Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered to relinquish reported $5.1M in book proceeds


(NEW YORK) — An ethics commission has ordered former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to turn over a reported $5.1 million in proceeds from his pandemic leadership book to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), gave Cuomo 30 days to comply with Tuesday’s order, which comes a month after the panel voted 12-1 to revoke its prior approval of the lucrative book deal for “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The attorney general’s office will decide where the money goes — whether to the state, the book’s publisher, Crown Publishing Group, or some other entity.

A Cuomo attorney called the action “unconstitutional” and vowed to challenge it in court.

“JCOPE’s actions today are unconstitutional, exceed its own authority and appear to be driven by political interests rather than the facts and the law,” attorney Jim McGuire said in a statement. “Should they seek to enforce this action, we’ll see them in court.”

The ethics board previously found that Cuomo misrepresented the subject of the bestselling book, and how far along he was in writing it, in his request for approval, as well as withheld his book contract from the commission, according to a resolution from JCOPE.

The order is the latest setback for Cuomo, who resigned in August following a months-long investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James that accused him of sexually harassing 11 women, including current and former state employees. Cuomo has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment.

Cuomo is scheduled to appear in court early next year for a sex crime case brought forth by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

ABC News’ Mark Crudele contributed to this report.

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