File this straight into the too-good-to-be-true folder: disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amidst a sexual harassment imbroglio in August 2021, filed a state ethics complaint on Tuesday against Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, accusing her of professional misconduct and attempting to inflame the public against him.
This is like putting two snakes in a box and seeing which one comes out alive.
Cuomo alleged James purposefully misled the public about the sex assault claims against him and used her inquiry into his conduct to enhance her own political standing. He also points out that although the investigation did not find enough evidence to charge him, James publicly implied that he was guilty. You can read the lawsuit here.
My favorite line in the suit appears on page three:
Fundamentally, the Attorney General and her investigators issued a purposefully inaccurate and misleading Report on August 3, 2021—which violated Rules 4.1 and 8.4(c)— bombastically and repeatedly implying that I sexually harassed eleven women, even though the allegations made by most of the eleven women did not constitute sexual harassment under state or federal law, even assuming arguendo [“for the sake of argument”] the truth of those allegations.
I repeat: “…the allegations made by most of the eleven women did not constitute sexual harassment…” The italics on the word “most” are not mine; they’re in the document itself. My future defense, should I ever get in trouble: “Your honor, I’m innocent, because I didn’t commit most of the crimes I’m accused of.”
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo filed a 48-page state ethics complaint against state Attorney General Letitia James, claiming that she had deliberately mishandled a sexual harassment investigation against him and used the outcome for political purposes. https://t.co/XIxSOQlN96 pic.twitter.com/s4uwzpXkEc
— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 13, 2022
Cuomo famously plummeted from the top of the political world straight to the bottom in record fashion. In 2020, he was widely considered “America’s governor” because of his perceived expert handling of the COVID crisis; his almost-nightly “humorous” appearances on CNN alongside his brother, anchor Chris; and his $5 million book deal for a tome laughably titled, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic (a court recently ruled that he can keep the money despite the scandals).
He was even considered a hot presidential prospect. And by hot, I remind you that men and women posed in shirts declaring themselves to be “Cuomosexual“—an identity they’re now embarrassed by.
CUOMO BLACKOUT: CNN goes 24 hours without mentioning latest ‘Luv Guv’ bombshell implicating network’s star anchor https://t.co/yN7ujoeMAD
— Joseph A. Wulfsohn (@JosephWulfsohn) March 26, 2021
How quickly that all changed. Turns out his famed COVID response wasn’t that great after all; thousands died needlessly in nursing homes under his orders and he was accused of cooking the books on COVID death counts. Suddenly media critics had the belated realization that appearing on national TV with your sympathetic brother was not….news. It was “entertainment” at best—if you like that sort of thing.
The lawsuit is the latest Cuomo effort to rehabilitate himself, as The New York Times reported Tuesday:
The 48-page complaint marks the latest effort by Mr. Cuomo in his ongoing effort to salvage his reputation and lash back at his attackers after he resigned in disgrace amid multiple scandals and the threat of impeachment last year.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Cuomo emailed a Daily News opinion article to his supporters that raised questions about some of the claims made against him, and suggested that he may have been the victim of an excess of #MeToo movement zeal. Mr. Cuomo has also spent $60,000 in the last month promoting the article through Facebook ads aimed at reframing the narrative on the circumstances surrounding his resignation.
I think it might be a little too late for rehabilitation, but who knows, people still pay Bill Clinton to give speeches. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s nemesis, Letitia James, is no angel herself and views her job as a never-ending quest to get Donald Trump. She and Merrick Garland would make a great couple.
This could get nasty, and I’d be lying if I said I feel bad for either of them. Neither is a sympathetic figure and although both are famous for taking on smug, “holier-than-thou” personas, neither of them is above reproach. Both are capable of taking the low road, and have in the past—and I expect them to here as well.