It’s a hard time for authors, as the ongoing antitrust trial over Penguin Random House’s planned purchase of Simon & Schuster has shown recently. Even big-time freelance writer Stephen King is worried! But hey, one particular writer is still sitting pretty. A judge ruled on August 16 that Andrew Cuomo wouldn’t have to give up over $5 million in proceeds from his 2020 COVID-19 book, American Crisis, despite a previous recommendation by an ethics panel, the New York Times reported. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics previously approved the book in 2020, but then claimed after Cuomo resigned as governor of New York — for, among other things, his reported mismanagement of the pandemic — that he used state resources for the book. (This came after the State Assembly found that Cuomo staff worked on the book during work hours.) Then, yesterday, a State Supreme Court judge ruled that the commission neglected Cuomo’s due process by denying him a hearing.
“JCOPE’s conduct was shameful, unlawful, and a waste of taxpayers’ funds,” Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, told the Times in a statement. But Cuomo isn’t out of the woods yet — as the Times noted, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has been replaced by the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, which could still investigate the book. Judge Denise A. Hartman left that open in her ruling, writing that courts “must await finality of the administrative proceedings” in this case.