Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the conviction of the second-ranking Republican in the state Senate is a “sad, sad personal tragedy.”
Cuomo told public radio’s “Capital Pressroom” that Sen. Thomas Libous, who is a personal friend of Cuomo’s, made a mistake but was a “quality public servant” for many years.
A federal jury found Libous guilty of lying to the FBI about arranging a high-paying job for his son. The Binghamton Republican who had served as deputy majority leader automatically lost his seat upon being convicted.
Cuomo says he’s worked to pass ethics reforms to address government corruption but that morality can’t be legislated.
Cuomo had a good relationship with the 62-year-old Libous, even attending his son’s wedding in 2013.
A replacement for Libous is expected to be picked in a November special election. In the meantime, the Senate GOP has lost its 32 to 31 majority. They are now evenly divided with the Democrats, although Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder is caucusing with them, giving the Republicans a cushion.
There is also the five-member Independent Democratic Conference that votes with the GOP majority.