Disgraced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is plotting a political comeback – one that would see him supplant nemesis Letita James as the state’s attorney general, after her sex pest probe this past year saw him ousted from office.
Word of the prospective political run comes more than nine months after a probe by James’ office found Cuomo sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, and that he and aides worked to retaliate against one of the accusers in a bid to keep her quiet.
Insiders say the disgraced Democrat and his aides are now moving in on plans to run against James in the upcoming Midterms in November – a strategy already hinted at by the politician since being ousted in August.
Word of the prospective political run comes more than nine months after a probe by the state AG’s office found Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, and that he and aides worked to retaliate against one of the accusers in a bid to keep her quiet
New York Attorney General Letitia James (pictured in February) branded Cuomo a ‘sick, pathetic man’, after her probe found he harassed multiple women and former staffers
The remarks, made during Cuomo’s first public appearance since leaving office , did not sit well with state prosecutor James.
‘Serial sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo won’t even spare a house of worship from his lies,’ James wrote in a scathing statement issued by her office hours after Cuomo’s ‘cancel culture’ assertion.
‘Even though multiple independent investigations found his victims to be credible, Cuomo wasn’t railroaded; he quit so he wouldn’t be impeached,’ James went on.
‘New Yorkers are ready to move forward from this sick, pathetic man.’
Cuomo’s words served as one of the few times the politico has addressed the sexual harassment allegations found to be ‘credible’ by James’ office last year – and it him first hint at a potential comeback.
In March, Cuomo, 64, hinted at a political comeback after asserting that ‘ cancel culture ‘ is what led to his political demise. The month prior, he released an ad that hinted of a comeback
‘I’ve gone through a very difficult time these past few months,’ Cuomo said at the time. ‘I resigned as governor, the press roasted me, my colleagues were ridiculed. It was ugly… it was one of the roughest times of my life.’
The address saw Cuomo also take the offensive to attack the ‘political sharks’ in Albany who, he said, ‘smelled blood’ and exploited the situation for political gain – before eventually hinting at a political run in November.
‘My father used to say that government is an honorable profession but that politics can be a dirty business,’ he said. ‘That is especially true today when politics is so mean and extreme. When even the Democratic Party chooses to cancel people in the face of disagreement.’
Cuomo went on to add, ‘But the political sharks in Albany smelled blood and exploited the situation for their own political purpose.’
‘The actions against me were prosecutorial misconduct,’ Cuomo said. ‘They used cancel culture to effectively overturn an election.’
James has said the report was corroborated by district attorneys who called the accusers credible and is based on 74,000 pieces of evidence. The evidence was not enough to produce any criminal charges against Cuomo
‘Now, cancel culture creates another major problem for the democratic party,’ Cuomo continued, before honing in on the subject of infighting among Democrats – which he said was spurred by cancel culture – and New York’s current crime and homeless epidemic.
‘We just heard from national elections, and the democrats lost,’ he said.
‘Now, the democrats are nervous about the midterm elections – and we should be.’
The ex-governor then offered an analogy for the impending doom that he says the city and party are set to face ahead of the midterm elections, as a result of the modern movement championed by Democrats and other progressives – whom he said he is now at odds with.
‘When you are driving down the road, and there is a flashing sign, and the flashing signs says, “Cliff Ahead,” pay attention. We should be worried about the midterms.
‘The democratic party is spending too much time arguing amongst themselves, cancelling each other, and pontificating about their ideal, rather than focus on what’s real.’
The politician went on to acknowledge that some of his alleged behavior uncovered in James’ investigation wasn’t appropriate, but quickly added that nothing he did violated the law. He argued that there is a ‘new sensitivity’ with younger people.
‘I didn’t appreciate how fast the perspectives changed,’ he added, before eventually hinting at a potential political comeback. ‘I’ve learned a powerful lesson and paid a very high price for learning that lesson.
He then hinted at a possible comeback.
‘God isn’t finished with me yet,’ he told the congregants. ‘I have many options in life and I’m open to all of them.’
Several district attorneys in New York said they found Cuomo’s accusers ‘credible’ after contributing to James’ extensive probe into the accusations against the then governor, which was based on 74,000 pieces of evidence.
However, the available evidence still wasn’t strong enough to press criminal charges against him, and he subsequently resigned from office.
Earlier this year, one of the accusers, a New York state trooper sued Cuomo claiming he caused her severe mental anguish and emotional distress by touching her inappropriately and making suggestive comments.
A Cuomo spokesperson called the suit a ‘cheap cash extortion.’
‘Any accusation can trigger condemnation without facts or due process,’ Cuomo said at the time. ‘We are a nation of laws, not a nation of tweets. Woe unto us if we allow that to become our new justice system.’
He apologized for his behavior multiple times, while still alluding to the fact that several Attorney Generals’ investigations led to no convictions.
‘Tens of millions of dollars were spent on investigations… your money!’ he said.
Returning several times to a Biblical metaphor of crossing a bridge to describe his journey, Cuomo hinted he won’t stay out of the spotlight.
‘The Bible teaches perseverance, it teaches us to get off the mat,’ he said. ‘They broke my heart but they didn’t break my spirit. I want to take the energy that could have made me bitter and make us better.’
The Democrat resigned in August 2021, days after an independent probe found he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women and that he and aides worked to retaliate against an accuser
Cuomo’s political legacy began crumbling in December 2020, when former aide Lindsey Bolan became the first woman to go public with her sexual harassment claims against him.
Other accusers soon followed.
Cuomo denied the mounting allegations, and refused all calls to resign – until the release last August of James’ report, which included an allegation by former aide Brittany Commisso who claimed he groped her breast in the executive mansion in November 2020.
Commisso was the first accuser to take her sexual assault claims to police, but Albany County’s district attorney dropped the case last month, claiming there was not enough evidence to secure a conviction.
Prosecutors in two other New York districts have also said Cuomo will not face criminal charges after two women, including a state trooper, alleged that he planted unwanted kisses on their cheeks.
New York’s former governor Andrew Cuomo released the video that appeared to signal his hopes of returning to public office, possibly as an attorney general. Midterms are in November
The 30-second advertisement blasted curren Attorney General James’ investigation into the accusers’ claims
In February, Cuomo released an attack ad against NY Attorney General Letitia James where he depicts himself as the victim of a ‘political attack’ – where he also appeared to signal his return to the political arena.
The video slammed an investigation led by James’ office that found he sexually harassed 11 women. He has not been criminally charged, and investigations by DAs found that there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
The bombshell investigation led to Cuomo’s resignation last August and although he briefly retreated from the public eye, he recently reemerged with some speculating he could challenge James in the upcoming election.
The 30-second video contains various snippets from news organizations criticizing the investigation.
The ad also highlights reports that said the investigation involved ‘witness tampering and perjury’ and that it besmirched the reputation of an ‘innocent man.’
‘Political attacks won,’ the ad says in its closing caption. ‘And New Yorkers lost a proven leader.’
A spokesperson for James told a DailyMail.com that ‘the only thing Andrew Cuomo has proven himself to be is a serial sexual harasser and a threat to women in the workplace – no TV ad can change that.’
‘It’s shameful that after multiple investigations found Cuomo’s victims to be credible, he continues to attack their accounts rather than take responsibility for his own actions,’ the spokesperson said.
The video clip contains various snippets from news organizations criticizing the investigation
It also highlights reports that said the investigation involved ‘witness tampering and perjury’ and that it besmirched the reputation of an ‘innocent man’
Earlier last month, Cuomo through his attorney Rita Galvin announced plans to submit a written complaint to the state’s Attorney Grievance Committee to highlight ethics concerns in the investigation.
‘He will not let this go,’ his lawyer, Rita Glavin, said during an online press conference.
‘It is insulting to tell someone, when they have been treated wrongly and unfairly, to just move on. He is not going to move on.’
Cuomo has repeatedly lashed out at James’ investigation, positioning himself as a victim of a political attack; he has previously joked that AG stands for ‘aspiring governor.’
He wasn’t bluffing about James, 63, having aspirations of higher office, however. She announced last October plans to run against Governor Kathy Hatchel in the upcoming election but backed out months later after failing to raise enough money.
There have been rumblings of Cuomo planning a return to public office for months.
In the video, news anchors are heard saying James ‘may have turned a blind eye to crucial details’ and that the investigation ‘created more questions about the politicization of the process.’
He’s hinted at running against James in the November election via comments he’s made about the fellow Democrat and New York’s current political climate, political insiders told the Wall Street Journal.
The state’s Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said Cuomo is working to restore his reputation after the report found he sexually harassed 11 women.
‘He’s most interested in clearing his name,’ Jacobs told the Journal. ‘My advice would be, he needs time to pass before any moves to re-enter public life. But is that possible in the future? In America, anything’s possible.’
The women who accused Gov Andrew Cuomo of harassment
Lindsay Boylan, 36
Former aide Lindsay Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed that the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
Lindsay Boylan, 36
Charlotte Bennett, 25
Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward a few days after Boylan and claimed that Cuomo sexually harassed her last June while she was working as a health policy adviser in his administration at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Bennett accused Cuomo of ‘grooming’ her and asking inappropriate questions about her sex life.
She also claimed that he told her he was open to dating women in their 20s.
BENNETT said the governor asked her about her love life – including whether she ever had sex with older men – and talked about his own, saying that age differences didn’t matter in relationships and he was open to dating women over 22.
During a meeting alone in his office, the governor said he was lonely and talked about wanting to hug someone, Bennett said.
She said she swiftly complained to Cuomo’s chief of staff and was transferred to another job.
She said she spoke to a lawyer for the governor, but didn´t insist on further action because she liked her new post and wanted to move on.
Charlotte Bennett, 25
Anna Ruch, 33
Anna Ruch was the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and the only one thus far who did not work with him in a professional capacity. She claimed that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan.
Anna Ruch, 33
Ana Liss, 35
Ana Liss, 35, a former aide, said Cuomo asked her whether she had a boyfriend, once kissed her hand at her desk and called her by patronizing names, including ‘blondie,’ ‘sweetheart’ and ‘honey.’
At a reception, the governor hugged her then put his arm around her lower back and waist as they posed for photo, Liss said.
She said she eventually asked for a job transfer. In an interview, Liss said she was ‘not claiming sexual harassment per se,’ but felt the administration ‘wasn’t a safe space for young women to work.’
Liss, who previously served as Cuomo’s policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, told the Wall Street Journal that during her time in his administration, the governor had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and quizzing her about her love life.
Ana Liss, 35
Karen Hinton, 62
The oldest allegations against Cuomo came from Karen Hinton, who served as a press aide for him when he led the US Department of Housing and Urban Development two decades ago and she was a consultant for the agency. Hinton told the Washington Post about a 2000 incident when she said Cuomo summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event. She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo when he pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape the room.
Karen Hinton, 62
Unnamed sixth accuser
The most damning allegations leveled against Cuomo to date came from a sixth accuser, whose name has not been released.
The accuser, who is a member of Cuomo’s staff, alleged that he closed a door, reached under her blouse and fondled her after summoning her to the governor’s mansion in Albany for help with his cellphone, according to the Times Union of Albany.
It first reported on her accusation last month; she then gave more detail in her first interview on the matter.
The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy, although her identity is known within the governor´s circle, the Times Union reported.
The woman, an executive assistant, told the Times Union the governor gave her kisses on the cheek and inappropriately tight hugs for years and made remarks including, ‘If you were single, the things that I would do to you’ and ‘I’m single and ready to mingle.’
Then, one day in November, she was summoned to his Executive Mansion office to help him with a cellphone problem, she said.
He got up from his desk, started groping her and told her ‘I don’t care’ after she tried to deflect him by saying he was going to get them into trouble, and then he slammed the door, she said.
Then he reached under her blouse and clutched one of her breasts over her bra, she told the newspaper.
The woman told a colleague this winter about the alleged encounter, and the co-worker told a supervisor in early March, according to the newspaper.
Cuomo called the report ‘gut-wrenching’ in a March statement and said: ‘I have never done anything like this.’
Another female aide, who has remained anonymous, claimed he called her to his Executive Mansion last year, reached under her blouse and fondled her
Jessica Bakeman claimed in a first-person article for New York Magazine that she was sexually harassed by Cuomo on several occasions since the start of her journalism career in 2012.
Bakeman added her voice as the seventh accuser as she detailed inappropriate touching by the governor as he continued to deny all of the claims.
‘He took my hand, as if to shake it, then refused to let go,’ Bakeman wrote of an interaction with Cuomo as she said goodnight at a holiday party in 2014 when she was only 25 years old.
‘He put his other arm around my back, his hand on my waist, and held me firmly in place while indicating to a photographer he wanted us to pose for a picture.’
At the time Bakeman had been working for what is now Politico New York and claimed that red flags went up as her ‘job was to analyze and scrutinize him’.
‘I didn’t want a photo of him with his hands on my body and a smile on my face,’ she wrote.
Jessica Bakeman, a reporter who once covered the Cuomo administration, was the seventh woman to come forward with claims of harassment
‘But I made the reflexive assessment that most women and marginalized people know instinctively, the calculation about risk and power and self-preservation. I knew it would be far easier to smile for the brief moment it takes to snap a picture than to challenge one of the most powerful men in the country.’
In an earlier 2012 incident while she was working for USA Today, Bakeman also claims that Cuomo kept her pinned to his side as he told a story to her male colleagues.
‘He left it there, and kept me pinned next to him, for several minutes as he finished telling his story,’ she said. ‘I stood there, my cheeks hot, giggling nervously as my male colleagues did the same. We all knew it was wrong, but we did nothing.’
The reporter, who now works in Florida, claimed that Cuomo ‘never let me forget I was a woman’ as she also alleged that he made frequent attempts to humiliate her, including calling out her purple phone instead of answering her question during a press gaggle.
Alyssa McGrath, 33
McGrath, a current administrative assistant in Cuomo’s office, told The New York Times that he looked down her shirt, quizzed her about her marital status, and told her she was beautiful, using an Italian phrase she had to ask her parents to interpret.
McGrath didn’t say the governor made sexual contact with her but thought his behavior was sexual harassment.
She recalled Cuomo kissing her on the forehead and gripping her firmly around the sides while posing for a photo at a 2019 office Christmas party.
Alyssa McGrath (pictured) is one of two aides who have come forward to accuse the governor of harassment
Sherry Vill, 55
Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct during a press conference with her attorney Gloria Allred on Monday.
She alleges Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her ‘aggressively and in a sexual manner’ on both cheeks in May 2017 while he was touring her home in Greece, near Rochester, as he inspected local flood damage.
Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek and her attorney held up multiple photos showing the Governor inside her home.
The same photos appear on Cuomo’s Flickr account, as well as multiple others that show him kissing and greeting residents as he toured the town.
None of the women in the other photos have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior or wrongdoing.
Sherry Vill, 55, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct on Monday. Vill, who said she felt uncomfortable at the time, shared an image her daughter took on the day that showed Cuomo holding her face as he kissed her cheek