No Resignation: Cuomo’s Attorneys Launch Kitchen Sink Defense

It was clear after a Friday afternoon press conference that the New York governor will not be resigning.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at an event in New York City in March.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at an event in New York City in March.
Carlo Allegri via Reuters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will not be resigning any time soon, despite a damning report that recounts 11 allegations of sexual harassment against him.

At a Friday press conference, Cuomo’s personal attorney and the attorney who represents the office of the governor made it clear that Cuomo will not go down without a fight. In what felt like a desperate attempt to cause confusion, the attorneys tried to cast doubt on multiple accusers’ timelines of events and claimed to have found granular inconsistencies in their stories.

During the event, which lasted over an hour, Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin, also pointed to instances in which she alleged New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ report was factually incorrect and biased.

“I know the difference between putting a case together against a target versus doing independent fact-finding with an open mind, and there has been no open-minded fact-finding in this case,” said Glavin, who later accused investigators of intentionally ignoring evidence that would prove Cuomo’s innocence. “This was not an exercise in truth telling.”

As Cuomo digs in his heels, impeachment or criminal proceedings become ever more likely. Over half of the New York state legislature supports impeachment and one of Cuomo’s accusers filed a criminal complaint on Friday.

Glavin and Paul Fisherman, the attorney representing the office of the governor, alleged that Cuomo and his senior staff were not given the opportunity to review their own transcripts from interviews with investigators, though presumably an impeachment trial — or criminal proceedings — will afford them that opportunity.

They claimed that they were not given any heads up about the report’s findings or when the report would be published. They argued that this intentionally barred Cuomo and other senior staff from responding to the findings in the investigation before the media covered the story.

There is no way to corroborate Glavin’s claims that the attorney general’s report was biased or factually incorrect. The state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

James released a 165-page report on Tuesday that found that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women. James said the governor “sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”

The evidence from the investigation painted a “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” that Cuomo sexually harassed female employees and created a hostile work environment for women, James said. The report also concluded that Cuomo and his senior staffers retaliated against one woman who accused him of sexual harassment.

The investigation began in March after nine women publicly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment that included. inappropriate comments, groping and non-consensual kissing. The attorney general’s report included two new allegations, one from a state trooper who was assigned to the governor’s protective detail.

Although Cuomo’s behavior violated state and federal law, the attorney general’s report did not reach a conclusion to whether Cuomo’s conduct should amount to criminal charges. The woman who filed a criminal complaint against him has accused the governor of groping her under her blouse.

Cuomo denied the allegations in a bizarre press conference earlier this week, telling reporters he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

Despite Cuomo’s dogged determination to undermine the attorney general’s report, many high-profile lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called on Cuomo to step down on Tuesday.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he also believes Cuomo should resign in the wake of the investigation.