(The Center Square) – Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose term in Albany ended last August after a sexual harassment investigation by the state attorney general’s office, announced Thursday that he planned to file formal ethics complaints against Attorney General Letitia James and the attorneys. who conducted the independent investigation into the harassment allegations.
At a press conference, Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin said Cuomo would personally file the complaints himself, as he claims James and Joon Kim and Anne Clarke were all at fault in the prosecution.
“The Governor is satisfied that there was a fault in the manner in which this investigation was conducted,” Glavin said. “And he thinks the lawyers’ grievance committee should look into that, which is why he’s going to personally file a complaint.”
Glavin would not speculate on what action the committee might take. Still, she noted that he can censor lawyers and suspend licenses.
This report indicates that 11 women who filed complaints against the governor at the time were credible. However, a spokesperson for Cuomo pointed out that prosecutors in the counties where the alleged incidents occurred have all decided not to pursue criminal charges.
“The fact is, we uncovered clear instances of blackmail, perjury, witness intimidation, and suppression of testimony and evidence that undermined the AG’s findings,” Rich Azzopardi said in a statement. “There’s a reason five ADs looked at this report, and 11 cases suddenly became void.”
Glavin claimed Thursday that James and investigators failed to look into allegations of perjury and witness tampering. She also accused James of leaving some information unredacted, even though Glavin claimed investigators “had reason to believe” it wasn’t true. At the same time, Glavin claimed the report also redacted information that would call into question the validity of a complaint.
Other issues raised by Glavin include the publication of less than a quarter of the transcripts. Glavin also claimed that James had political ambitions, referring to his announcement to run for governor in late October, which prevented the “slow” release of transcripts.
“Clearly she wanted to harm Gov. Andrew Cuomo to advance his gubernatorial campaign because she had refused to release the transcripts up to that point,” Glavin said. “She also wanted to hurt who she considered a primary political opponent with $15-18 million in her war chest. That’s why she did it. There is no other reason.
James would ultimately choose to run for re-election in early December and drop out of a race against Governor Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s successor.
A message to James’ office seeking comment was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.
In addition to Cuomo filing her lawsuit, Glavin said she will send letters to district attorneys in the five counties where the sexual harassment allegations were made and ask them to conduct a criminal investigation into Cuomo’s misconduct allegations. .
“Because it can’t be ignored,” she said.
James and investigators aren’t the only targets of Cuomo and his camp. Glavin said she was also calling for an investigation of Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, whom she accused of leaking grand jury information to reporters.
The sheriff’s office filed a misdemeanor forcible touching charge against Cuomo a day before James announced his candidacy for governor. However, this filing surprised the Albany County prosecutor and the charge was eventually dropped.
A message to Apple’s office was not immediately returned.
The sexual harassment report, released on August 3, was a watershed moment for the Cuomo administration. Until then, the governor had been the subject of several investigations – the harassment cases being one of them – but the calls for his resignation or his impeachment began to multiply after the report of the independent investigators.
Within a week, Cuomo would announce his resignation. He would formally step down in late August, saying he did not want the allegations, which he has strongly denied, to be a distraction as the state continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since leaving office, he and his supporters have continued to speak out against the charges and, in some cases, the accusers as well.
Thursday’s announcement comes just days after Bloomberg reported that the former governor felt “vindicated” after prosecutors declined to indict him on one of the allegations in the James report. He also did not rule out a possible election again.