ALBANY, NY (AP) - A sign that the controversy over reports the Cuomo administration interfered with the Moreland Commission has taken a more serious turn.

A criminal defense attorney--Elkan Abramowitz--says he's been retained by Cuomo's office as a federal prosecutor threatens to widen an investigation into the governor's handling of the corruption-probing panel.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has notified Cuomo he may open a witness tampering probe.

Five commissioners publicly rejected talk of interference on Monday--the same day Cuomo dismissed allegations a top staffer pressured commissioners not to investigate groups with close ties to him.

Cuomo now says he was only concerned with what he calls inacurate media reports--and was discussing those concerns with the relevant parties.