- Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor
- February 7th, 2022
(The Center Square) – Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Bloomberg in an article published Monday morning he’s been “vindicated” of the sexual harassment charges that led to his resignation six months ago.
The article comes a week after the Oswego County district attorney’s office became the fifth in the state to not pursue criminal charges. Like the other prosecutors, Gregory Oakes said he found the accusations credible. However, he said there was not enough evidence to press charges.
Those prosecutors began their review after the bombshell report from the independent investigation presided over by state Attorney General Letitia James. The 165-page report released last August included accusations from women, including state employees, that Cuomo harassed them. Several reported incidents of inappropriate touching.
Cuomo would announce his resignation within a week of the report’s release, citing he did not want an almost certain impeachment to be a distraction.
“I never resigned because I said I did something wrong,” Cuomo told Bloomberg.
The prosecutors said they found Cuomo’s behavior troubling and that he may still face civil suits over the allegations. However, the former governor considers their decisions not to press charges as victories.
“It turns out in a remarkably short period of time that it did become all bogus. Eleven became zero,” Cuomo said in the Bloomberg article. “If you do an honest summary, which is what I get from people on the street, I have been vindicated.”
Bloomberg reports the former governor has spent more than $2 million of his campaign funds on lawyers, public relations and staff salaries since last July.
The Bloomberg interview is the latest sign that Cuomo is resuming a public persona. Last week, the New York Daily News reported that he had dinner with New York Mayor Eric Adams. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported he and his staff are looking for a venue for his first public remarks since he left office.
While he did not explicitly rule out a political comeback, Cuomo said in the article his focus remains on refuting the independent investigation’s report.
“Because as a precedent, it has to be exposed,” Cuomo said. “Vindication is not the reason to run for office.”
Before his resignation, Cuomo planned to run for a fourth term as governor this year. Other statewide offices are up for election this year, including attorney general.
However, even if Cuomo feels vindicated on the harassment cases and ultimately decides to run for another office this year or down the road, there are still other issues that may thwart a political comeback.
The sexual harassment allegations were just one of Cuomo’s many issues when he resigned. Some still linger.
There are investigations into how the Cuomo Administration handled nursing home policies during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many critics claim those policies led to thousands of deaths.
Cuomo also faces a battle over $5 million he received for writing a book on his handling of the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, the state’s public ethics agency approved the deal with certain conditions, including that it be done on his own time and without state resources.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has since revoked that approval after a legislative impeachment investigation found that Cuomo used executive office personnel in writing and editing the book.
Messages to James and current Gov. Kathy Hochul were not immediately returned Monday morning. However, a spokesperson for James told Bloomberg that multiple investigations found the harassment allegations credible.
“Only he is to blame for inappropriately touching his own staff and then quitting so he didn’t have to face impeachment,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “His baseless attacks won’t change the reality — Andrew Cuomo is a serial sexual harasser.”
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