Cuomo’s lawyers just proved he has no credible defense
Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t been seen since state Attorney General Tish James’ damning report dropped Tuesday, but he sent his lawyers — and anonymous advisers — to make the case that not one of the 11 women who’ve accused him of sexual harassment (yup, not one!) can be believed.
It’s unconvincing. Rather than refute the allegations, Cuomo’s shills are attacking his accusers and investigators and claiming the gov didn’t get a chance to respond — despite 11 hours of testimony in which he gave his side of the story.
Couple this with his other scandals (the latest: two of his spin doctors work for a firm with $88 million in state contracts), and it’s beyond clear he’s simply unfit to continue in office.
Late Friday afternoon, Cuomo’s lawyers held a virtual press conference insisting the gov “was ambushed” by a “predetermined” investigation.
“He is 63 years old. He has been in public life for four decades,” Rita Glavin groused. “For him to be all of a sudden accused of sexual assault by an executive assistant he doesn’t really know doesn’t pass muster.”
Sorry, but again: There were 11 accusers. They can’t all be lying. And there are charges of unlawful retaliation, too. These young women showed bravery in standing up to the state’s highest elected official — whose bullying has been an open secret for years. The executive assistant, who says the gov groped her breast under her blouse, has now filed a criminal complaint with the Albany Sheriff’s Office.
Glavin called Lindsey Boylan’s accusation a “campaign strategy” in her run for Manhattan borough president, but she said little to actually refute the charge. And she didn’t at all address one of the report’s most shocking stories, that of a state trooper Cuomo bent the rules to get on his protective detail, only to sexually harass her.
When a reporter asked Glavin why Cuomo, after just one encounter, thought the woman (who lacked the necessary experience) would be excellent for the job, she said, “He met the trooper and thought she was impressive” — and wanted more diversity on his detail. What made him think she was impressive? She made “eye contact” and was “assertive,” Glavin said. That’s the standard he used to select someone to guard his life? Please.
Then there’s the ridiculous defense anonymous advisers are offering up: “This is the first sex scandal in history in which there wasn’t any sex,” one told New York magazine. “I am sorry that all of these women felt awkward and felt like something was going to happen, but nothing actually did.”
In other words: Cuomo didn’t succeed in bullying his young staffers into sleeping with him, so what’s the problem? The problem is that’s an abuse of power — and potentially criminal.
And it might have led Cuomo to misuse state resources. Josh Vlasto and Rich Bamberger were working in a “personal capacity” when they helped Cuomo smear Boylan, PR firm Kivvit says of its managing directors. But the company has gotten $88 million in state contracts since 2018.
Add to all this Cuomo’s coverup of COVID nursing-home deaths just as he was using state resources to write his $5.1 million “leadership” book.
Forget it, Gov. You have no defense.