ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Letita James for the denial of state-paid defense during his sexual harassment case.
“New Yorkers shouldn’t have to pay for Andrew Cuomo’s legal bills,” James said in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday. “Sexual harassment isn’t one of your official responsibilities as governor.”
“Governor Cuomo did not sexually harass anyone. The AG wants to use her political hit job ‘report’ to continue to fuel her own ambitions, but she should instead provide Governor Cuomo access to the evidence that she has wrongfully kept hidden from him, the press, and the public,” said Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s attorney. “Five different district attorneys independently reviewed the allegations and refused to move forward against Governor Cuomo. The petition Governor Cuomo filed yesterday is about enforcing the law and ensuring fairness and transparency—something the AG has repeatedly denied him.”
Under Section 17 of the NYS Public Officers Law, a state official may be entitled to civil action defense for any alleged illegal act that arose while serving office. The lawsuit quotes a Daily News report saying that James’ office refused to disclose interrogation memos for the 179 people questioned in Cuomo’s sexual abuse investigation.
“[Andrew] Cuomo is trying to force New Yorkers to pay his legal bills because he believes sexual harassment was within his ‘scope of employment’ as governor,” James’ Twitter post continued. Sexually harassing young women who work for you is not part of anyone’s job description. Taxpayers should not have to pony up for legal bills that could reach millions of dollars so Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer can attack survivors of his abuse.”
In Cuomo’s lawsuit signed off by attorneys Rita Glavin and Theresa Trzaskoma, the 64-year-old Queens native wants relief for his Public Officers Law rights. He also claims that James has a conflict of interest.