The Times Union reported Wednesday that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has filed a lawsuit against state Attorney General Tish James on Wednesday, challenging her decision not to pay his private counsel’s legal fees in defense of a sexual harassment claim filed against him earlier this year.
The disgraced governor had been accused of “forcibly touching” and sexually harassing a victim called “Trooper 1” at the Governor’s Executive Mansion in December 2020, allegedly groping her breast while they were alone in the residence. Cuomo’s new lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in New York County, claims that James’ office rejected Cuomo’s request for counsel “without providing a reason.” Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s attorney, reiterated Cuomo’s innocence (in his opinion!) and that, as a government employee, his right to have the state cover his legal fees was improperly invalidated.
But the AG’s office is having none of it. Delaney Kempner, a spokeswoman for James, issued a statement saying Cuomo “is trying to force New Yorkers to pay his legal bills because he believes sexual harassment was within his ‘scope of employment’ as governor. Sexually harassing young women who work for you is not part of anyone’s job description. Taxpayers should not have to pony up for legal bills that could reach millions of dollars so Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer can attack survivors of his abuse.”
The news comes on the heels of Cuomo’s long, embattled descent from self-appointed pandemic hero to noted serial harasser and casual misogynist. Last year, the New York State attorney general’s office released a massive, 165-page report confirming that Cuomo had “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.” The report also noted that Cuomo had engaged in inappropriate behavior from groping, overly intimate hugs, and kisses.
Despite the overwhelming evidence laid out in the report, Cuomo has continued to deny these claims, saying in March, “No one ever told me I made them feel uncomfortable and I never sensed that I caused any discomfort to anyone, I was trying to do the opposite. But I understand that was my error.” He also had someone in his office make this extremely bizarre montage of him kissing and touching people—I still cannot fathom why.
When asked for a reply to Cuomo’s delusions earlier this year, James said in a statement, “Serial sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo won’t even spare a house of worship from his lies. Even though multiple independent investigations found his victims to be credible, Cuomo continues to blame everyone but himself.”
Despite Cuomo’s near escape from actual legal ramifications (he did not face any criminal charges for his alleged acts of forcible touching, according to CNBC, and the Westchester County DA also declined to bring him up on criminal charges for allegations by two additional women), he seems to be out for vengeance in an attempt to clear his name and place the onus on women for misinterpreting his actions, regardless of how threatened they were made to feel.