Eliot Spitzer will submit an affidavit stating that none of his three personal email accounts were used to conduct public business relating to an ongoing civil fraud action, his attorney told Kingston Supreme Court Justice Christopher Cahill (See Profile) on Friday.
Andrew Celli, a partner with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, said Spitzer, the former state attorney general, would be “happy” to end a nearly seven-year “wild goose chase” by stating nothing in his personal emails is responsive to a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) demand by Howard Smith, a former top executive with American International Group (AIG).
Smith, who with former AIG chief executive officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg is awaiting trial on civil fraud charges launched by Spitzer in 2005, has spent years seeking access to Spitzer’s private emails from the attorney general’s office on the suspicion they contain material relevant to the fraud case. Spitzer has been a part of the action only for a few months.
Two years ago, Cahill said that to the extent Spitzer conducted public business with a private account, those records are public property, and the attorney general has an obligation to secure their return (NYLJ, May 18, 2012).
On appeal, the Appellate Division, Third Department did not address the merits but said Spitzer must be joined in the action (NYLJ, Oct. 18, 2013). He joined the case in January.
On Friday, the judge told Cahill that an extensive search of Spitzer’s private emails found nothing applied to Smith’s FOIL request. Celli said Spitzer would sign an affidavit, which should end the dispute.
Smith’s attorney, Kaye Scholer partner Vincent Sama, said his client will continue fighting if the affidavit does not contain sufficient detail on the extent of the search.
Daphne Morduchowitz, counsel at Kaye Scholer, also appeared for Smith.
The attorney general’s office was represented by Assistant Attorney General Adrienne Kerwin.