Now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “debased himself” on his final night in office by commuting the sentence of a criminal who was part of a deadly 1981 robbery in which two police officers and a security guard were killed, according to one local government official.
In his last hours in office, Cuomo also commuted the sentences of four other men who were locked up on murder convictions and issued one pardon, according to the New York Post.
Cuomo resigned effective at midnight Monday due to the fallout over a report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James that accused Cuomo of sexually harassing 11 women. He has been succeeded by former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul, a fellow Democrat.
Before stepping down, he used his power to make David Gilbert, 76, eligible for parole. Gilbert was among the members of the Weather Underground convicted in the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored truck in Nyack, New York, that left Nyack police Sgt. Edward O’Grady, police Officer Waverly Brown and Brink’s guard Peter Paige dead.
Gilbert was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison with no possibility of parole until 2056. Cuomo’s action does not free Gilbert, but sets the stage for the parole board to consider freeing him.
“It’s absurd,” said Arthur Keenan Jr., a retired Nyack police detective who was wounded in the shootout, according to The New York Times.
Cuomo “is stabbing all of law enforcement in the back, and when I say ‘all,’ I’m talking about federal, state, local — all across the whole country — because he’s a traitor,” Keenan said.
“As if victimizing 11 women, including members of his own staff, was not despicable enough, his commutation of the 75-years-to-life sentence of David Gilbert is a further assault on the people of Rockland and New York State,” the statement said, according to the Times.
“Andrew Cuomo continues to focus on the well-being of murderers rather than the victims of these horrible offenses.”
Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York tweeted that Cuomo “left more parting gifts for New Yorkers … the release of 5 more murderers onto our streets.”
On his way out, Cuomo left more parting gifts for New Yorkers…the release of 5 more murderers onto our streets. 🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) August 23, 2021
Gilbert’s son, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, had sought his father’s release.
Boudin’s mother, Kathy, was part of the gang that committed the robbery. Convicted after pleading guilty to murder and robbery charges, she was paroled in 2003.
“I am overcome with emotion,” Boudin said in a statement on Monday night, according to the Times.
“My heart is bursting, and it also aches for the families of the three victims. Although he never used a gun or intended for anyone to get hurt, my father’s crime caused unspeakable harm and devastated the lives of many separate families. I will continue to keep those families in my heart; I know they can never get their loved ones back.”
But criticism of Cuomo’s moves poured in on social media.
Cuomo giving clemency to David Gilbert, a left-wing Weather Underground terrorist, participant in the murderous Brink’s armored car heist, & the father of SF DA Chesa Boudin, is a giant middle finger to NY law enforcement & every decent New Yorker. https://t.co/zsD5ECP5bg
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) August 24, 2021
— Assemblyman Mike Lawler (@lawler4ny) August 24, 2021
Cuomo pardons murderous cop killer & Weather Underground domestic terrorist David Gilbert who is apparently more connected to the broader Democrat machine than we thought. Cuomo said he isn’t part of the “club”. People w/ lesser crimes & lesser connections didn’t get pardoned. https://t.co/ZUnKAEOGwL
— Claudia Tenney (@claudiatenney) August 24, 2021
Cuomo said Gilbert deserves to walk free because of his “significant contributions to AIDS education and prevention programs” and his in-prison work as “a student tutor, law library clerk, paralegal assistant, a teacher’s aide, and an aide for various additional facility programs.”
The others freed, according to the Post, were:
Greg Mingo, 68, who was convicted of four counts of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in connection to a 1980 double murder in Queens.
Robert Ehrenberg, 62, who like Mingo was serving a sentence of 50 years to life, shot and killed a man during a 1992 robbery.
Ulysses Boyd, 66, who was convicted of second-degree murder in a 1986 Harlem killing.
Paul Clark, 59, who was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons possession in the 1980 killing of a 17-year-old.
Cuomo pardoned Lawrence Penn III, founder of private equity firm Camelot Acquisitions who served two years in prison after pleading guilty in 2015 to stealing more than $9 million from investors, according to the Post.
Last week, according to the Post, Cuomo granted clemency and pardons to 10 imprisoned felons, including three murderers.
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