From the Wall Street Journal:
Attorneys representing two women in a sexual-harassment dispute against Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez had initially demanded a settlement payment of $1.2 million before agreeing to a fraction of that amount, according to internal email correspondence made public Thursday by the state attorney general's office.
The emails also show that top legal advisers to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli had been briefed on the major terms of the final prelitigation settlement and didn't raise objections to the ultimate payment of more than $100,000 from state coffers.
In an email dated May 29, days before the agreement was inked, the Assembly majority counsel William Collins wrote to counsels for the attorney general and state comptroller offices to brief them on the talks and share with them a draft copy of the terms. "Note the complainants initially sought $1.2 million and reduced their settlement number only once (to $600,000) before we drew a hard-and-fast line," he said in the email.
Lawyers for the two female complainants, represented by Gloria Allred, a prominent sexual-harassment attorney in Los Angeles, and a Manhattan firm, declined to comment on Mr. Collins's email.
The attorney general's office had no official role in the talks, but Mr. Schneiderman's counsel had several discussions with the Assembly's counsel about how the deal was playing out, according to the email.
Mr. Schneiderman's office suggested minor adjustments to the terms but didn't advise against the proposed payout in taxpayer cash of $103,080, the agreed amount for damages and attorney fees. Mr. Lopez paid an additional $32,000 as part of the deal.
The Staten Island DA has been appointed special prosecutor in this case. he's concerned that the highly political nature of it will lead to leaks.
And despite all this, Lopez will cruise to victory this fall.