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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: SKELOS drama begins -- AG 1, fantasy sites 0 -- BRIDGEGATE East?

11/17/2015 07:15 AM EDT

By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman

PICKING THE SKELOS JURY - POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez: After more than six hours of proceedings on Monday, jury selection is not complete in the corruption trial of state Senator Dean Skelos and his son, Adam. About 110 potential jurors have gone through the initial screening process. Twenty of about 40 potential jurors were deemed qualified by prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office, lawyers for the defendants and Judge Kimba Wood. Skelos, a Republican from Nassau County, is accused of using his office and position to win payments for his son from companies that had business before the state.An additional 50 or so potential jurors will be administered a personal questionnaire on Tuesday when jury selection resumes. A pool of 36 qualified jurors are required in the case. Wood, who expects the trial to last three to five weeks, had asked potential jurors if they had a family member or close friend with a developmental disability, a hint at a potential defense strategy painting Adam Skelos in a more sympathetic light. The senator's son, according to the Daily News, has autism.

Meanwhile, in the spectator seats at the back of the courtroom, Gail Skelos, the senator's wife, sat alongside his brother, Skelos - a former Appellate Court judge - as she wiped her eyes with a tissue and read what appeared to be a palm-sized Bible. Adam Skelos' wife, Ann Marie, sat alongside them with other members of the Skelos family.

-- One of the Skeloses has discussed a plea - William Rashbaum in the New York Times: "A prosecutor indicated on Monday that either Senator Dean G. Skelos or his son, Adam, sought to discuss a plea deal to resolve part or all of an eight-count indictment that includes bribery and extortion charges. Just before jury selection was to begin in Federal District Court in Manhattan, the trial judge, Kimba M. Wood, asked if there had been 'any plea discussions or any offers.' Jason A. Masimore, one of the prosecutors, replied: 'There was a request to initiate discussions by one of the defendants. There was a response and there's been nothing further.' "

CUOMO TO HARVARD: Gov. Andrew Cuomo will travel to Cambridge today to address a seminar of about 50 students at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, outlining his vision of "competent and progressive" government, an administration official told POLITICO. The Democratic governor was invited by David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents who is co-director of the school's Center for Public Leadership. Against the backdrop of 2016, Cuomo's speech will touch on his time at the federal department of Housing and Urban Development and "how to improve people's lives through compromise." According to the official, Cuomo will talk about deals to increase the minimum wage in 2013 and to pass same-sex marriage in 2011. Cuomo's daughter, Cara, is an undergraduate at Harvard, and after losing his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Andrew Cuomo taught a class at the school.

SCHNEIDERMAN WINS ROUND ONE - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: The two largest daily fantasy sports sites remain in limbo after their bid for a protective order against Attorney General Eric Schneiderman failed in court late Monday. DraftKings and FanDuel had each sought a protective order against Schneiderman, a Democrat, who said last week that their operations amount to illegal gambling under New York law. The companies argued that they offer customers games of skill - not games of chance, which are banned in the Empire State. The sides will indeed return to court Nov. 25 for a hearing before Justice Manuel Mendez. On Monday, there was also movement on a legislative measure that would clarify the companies' status in the state. State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer, a Republican from Erie County, introduced a bill seeking to change the state's definition of gambling to incorporate language from the federal government, carving out draft fantasy sports companies.

-- A Democratic operative explained to Fred Dicker, on background, that this is not a good political move.

DEFENDING CLINTON -- De Blasio vouches for HRC after 'botched' Wall Street answer -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: De Blasio, who recently endorsed Clinton for president and served as her Senate campaign manager in 2000, said he believed his former boss did not allow her donors to influence her positions. "I say, whoever you take donations from, you can't let it influence your thinking," de Blasio said. "I can certainly say there's a lot of folks on Wall Street who don't agree with her platform and her agenda, but she has stuck to it." "She clearly strongly defended Dodd-Frank throughout," de Blasio continued. "She has spoken very powerfully about reining in executive compensation, about cracking down on shadow banking - she's been strong on desire for closing the carried interest loophole.

MAYOR 'MUM' ON REFUGEES -- De Blasio punts to Bratton when asked about Syria -- Metro NY's Chester Soria: "Mayor Bill de Blasio stayed mum on questions about how the city should respond to increasing political pressure to close off the United States' borders to Syrian refugees following Friday's terrorist attacks in France. De Blasio declined to answer a question about whether his support for accepting 10,000 refugees at an early, unrelated press event in Queens, offering to answer the question during a press event with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

"I would like to speak to that when we are with Commissioner Bratton later, because we can give you a much fuller answer," the mayor said. Hours later at an event marking the first deployment of a new, beefed-up counterterrorism unit, a reporter asked about refugee resettlement. De Blasio avoided the microphone and instead allowed his police commissioner to field the question. The top cop said the issues was more of a concern in Europe, and that American federal authorities would vet any refugees coming into the United States from Syria on a series of qualifications. De Blasio nodded his head as Bratton spoke."

A PLAN FOR RIKERS -- Darcel Clark says she wants judge on the island -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Bronx District Attorney-elect Darcel Clark released a plan on Monday to increase oversight and install new reforms at Rikers Island, which falls under the jurisdiction of her office.

The plan includes nine goals which Clark says will help to improve accountability, efficiency and responsiveness in the DA's office - notorious for case backlogs and slow prosecution of crimes that are committed within the jail. According to an outline of the plan, Clark will create a Rikers Island task force which will focus on procedures and policies regarding violence, narcotics smuggling, sexual assaults, and mental health. Clark will also assign an assistant district attorney and additional staff to expedite timely prosecution of Rikers cases and to help do away with delays when inmates are transferred to the Bronx courts for arraignment. Additionally, Clark's plan calls for the "reduction and the ultimate elimination" of the case backlog within the DA's office. Clark also will ask for a judge on Rikers Island, which would help expedite arraignments and other courtroom proceedings in Rikers cases, her office said.

TABS -- Post: "TIGER BY THE TAIL!" -- News: "U.S. ON FIEND'S BLOODY DEATH LIST" -- amNY: "SECURING THE CITY" -- Hamodia: "Q Train Skipping Midwood This Week Due to Repairs" -- El Diario [translated]: New York is protected

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 1-col. below the fold: "G.O.P. Governors Vow to Close Doors to Syrian Refugees" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold; "Terror Seizes City Agenda"

#PATAKIWATCH: At 6'5", Pataki is the tallest person running for president.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: John Oliver's take on daily fantasy sports sites.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Lorne Michaels is 71 ... Cuomo aide Aimee Vargas ... Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell of Manhattan's Upper West Side, and operator of two twitter feeds, here and here ... and Isaac Baker, a partner at AKPD Media and, according to a knowledgeable source, "a proud fan of Boyz II Men."

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York's carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York's nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Learn more at **

AFTER PARIS ATTACKS, NYPD deploys officers -- Bratton warns terrorists using encryption technology -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: Three days after the deadly terrorist attack in Paris, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that the New York Police Department was taking counter-terrorism to "the next level" in order to deal with the "new reality" facing the city and the country.

"We know terror can target us anytime, anywhere. We have to be ready for that. And that answer is to prepare even more intensely," the mayor said. ... Commissioner Bill Bratton said the attacks in Paris showed the deadly transformation of ISIS from a group widely considered to be deft at social media and the theater of terrorism into an organization able to conduct sophisticated, simultaneous attacks far from its base in Iraq and Syria ... Bratton told reporters after he and de Blasio oversaw the first deployment of more than 100 officers in the NYPD's new Critical Response Command, the department's first-ever standing unit dedicated to handling terrorist and active-shooter scenarios.

-- "There appeared to have been no detection of this attack on the part of French intelligence, which is one of the best intelligence services in the world," Bratton said. "So that gives one indication that somehow or another they're able to operate in the dark." The commissioner said that encryption technology is "impeding our abilities in terrorism. It's impeding our abilities in cybercrime. And the full magnitude of it we don't know at this juncture, but it is getting worse, instead of better," he said.

-- Bratton, on Sunday, said: "ISIS, taking advantage of the technology that the head of the FBI has been complaining about, I've been complaining about, going dark, the ability to go dark, I think you're going to see that playing a significant factor in this event."

-- DN editorial: "Congress must bar major technology companies from building devices that are entirely closed to law enforcement agencies bearing search warrants."

-- Newsday: "Obama should summon the heads of the U.S. technology sector to the White House to discuss the urgency of finding a workable solution. Our security could depend on having this information."

REBUTTAL -- Gizmodo's Kate Knibbs: "Whatever platforms the terrorists used to communicate, the idea that encryption foiled the intelligence community's efforts to stop them is still hypothetical. Even if we do learn that these attackers used the most cutting-edge, hardcore encryption tools privacy advocates would jizz over, the argument that the solution is to dismantle these tools by making keys for government actors is absurd. We've known that terrorists have used encryption since at least 2001, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out."

-- "NYC Police Commissioner Is Surprised More Terrorists Don't Use American Guns." Observer's Ross Barkan:

EAT BEAT - "Where to Eat the Best Sushi in NYC" -- Grub Street: "15 East (Union Square) ... Blue Ribbon Sushi (Soho) ... Hatsuhana (Midtown East) ... Hatsuhana (Midtown East) ... Jewel Bako (East Village) ... Kura (East Village) ... Neta (West Village) ... New York Sushi Ko (Lower East Side) ... Soto (West Village) ... Sushi of Gari (Upper East Side, Hells Kitchen, Tribeca) ... Sushi Nakazawa (West Village) ... Sushi Seki (Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, Upper East Side) ... Sushi Yasuda (Midtown East) ... Tanoshi Sushi Sake Bar (Upper East Side) ... Tomoe Sushi (West Village) ... Ushiwakamaru (Chelsea) ... And then there's Masa."

BRIDGEGATE SPILLS EAST - NY1's Zack Fink: "As the cases in the Bridgegate matter move forward on the other side of the Hudson River, more information is becoming available about who knew what about the scandal and when they knew it. While the focus understandably has been on the actions of New Jersey Chris Christie, the legal digging may also reveal how much Gov. Andrew Cuomo knew about the scandal before the average New Yorker. ... This week even more evidence became available that suggests that some on the New York side were not only aware of what was going on, but also taking pains to avoid fanning the flames or exposing the matter publicly. Attorneys for former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, who is under indictment for the lane closures and is expected to stand trial next year, have filed discovery motions that resulted in hundreds of pages of documents being made public. As Brian Murphy reports, there is information in those documents about discussions that took place among Cuomo's appointees including Commissioner and Vice Chairman Scott Rechler."

HILLARYWATCH - "Why Al Gore won't endorse Hillary Clinton," by Politico's Darren Samuelsohn: An aide said Gore will "stay on the sidelines [during the primaries]. Gore's reticence ... is in part to maximize his own leverage on fighting climate change. But his repeated demurrals also reflect a complicated relationship with [Hillary] that dates back more than two decades. ... The ... rivalry started when the two baby boomer policy wonks arrived in the White House in 1993. Gore got the ... environmental and technology portfolios. Bill Clinton ... assign[ed] his wife what would become an ill-fated attempt to pass ... health-care reform ...

"Bill Clinton reportedly reconciled with Gore in the days after ... Sept. 11 ... But ... the relationship between Gore and Hillary Clinton had never even gotten to a place where it could be smoothed over. ... Gore's own efforts to take the next big step in his political career suffered in no small part because of the roller coaster politics associated with the Lewinsky saga ...

"[In 2008, Gore] got a call from Sen. Ted Kennedy urging him to endorse Obama. But Gore resisted, and he didn't go public for the future president until more than a week after Clinton had conceded."

REAL ESTATE -- ZONED OUT-"Queens Borough Board votes down de Blasio's zoning proposals," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "In a 12-2 vote, Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans to alter New York City's zoning regulations to expand low- to moderate-income housing were voted down in Queens on Monday night. The Queens Borough Board cast its non-bonding votes on the mayor's two proposals, with no specific issue generating as much opposition as a recommendation to restrict parking spaces in much of the city's new residential developments."

SPACE SAVER-"Scorecard: With resi boom, more storage for people's stuff," by Real Deal's Adam Pincus: "Construction of storage and warehouse projects is mirroring the development boom in Brooklyn and Queens. Developers led plans for more than 2 million square feet of such space there since January 2013, far more than in the other three boroughs. The largest Brooklyn project was a massive FedEx distribution facility in East New York developed by SunCap Property Group. In Queens, smaller projects in neighborhoods like Flushing and Long Island City dominate, with self-storage provider Storage Deluxe the top filer."

BIG DEAL-"Financial district office building is sold for $115 million," by Crain's Joe Anuta: "A partnership between Newmark Holdings and Northwind Group has purchased a 20-story office building in the financial district for $115 million, the team announced Monday. The acquisition of 40 Exchange Place was financed in part by a $65 acquisition loan from Natixis Real Estate Capital. Newmark Holdings and Northwind plan on renovating the property, near the corner of William Street, to increase its appeal for small and midsize commercial office tenants, who don't have many options in the neighborhood."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Islanders 5, Coyotes 2: John Tavares scored twice in the win.

-- The day ahead: Old friend Jeremy Lin comes back to The Garden. The Nets host the Hawks. Queens College tries to shock the world at Rose Hill Gym against Fordham in men's hoops.

#UpstateAmerica: Potsdam Village Trustee Ruth F. Garner turns 100 tomorrow.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America's existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America's carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state's electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York's state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at **

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:

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