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Andrew Cuomo files a complaint against Letitia James for her sexual harassment report

Then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York's Yankee Stadium on July 26, 2021. Cuomo sued Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, arguing that James violated state law by denying him public assistance for his defense in a sexual harassment claim.
Richard Drew
/
AP
Then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York's Yankee Stadium on July 26, 2021. Cuomo sued Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, arguing that James violated state law by denying him public assistance for his defense in a sexual harassment claim.

Updated September 14, 2022 at 11:30 AM ET

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is asking the state's Supreme Court to investigate New York Attorney General Letitia James for publishing a report claiming he sexually assaulted multiple women during his tenure.

Cuomo claims James manipulated the investigation in order to pursue her own run for governor, failed to appoint independent investigators to the case and omitted crucial evidence from her report released last August.

Cuomo argued James's press conference announcing the findings of the report "was meant to be prejudicial and highly inflammatory, and to villainize me in the public eye, and to mislead the public and the press that I had sexually harassed eleven women, which simply was not true," he wrote in a letter to Jorge Dopico, a chief attorney of the New York Supreme Court's Attorney Grievance Committee, which is tasked with disciplining lawyers in the state.

The former governor, who was in his third term, resigned shortly after the report was published and apologized to his accusers for anything he had done to offend them.

"I have been too familiar with people," he said at the time. "My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life."

Cuomo alleges in the complaint James had evidence that undercut the women's allegations, but did not investigate it further, such as male staffers who say Cuomo also hugged and kissed them, showing his conduct was "not gender-based" and that one of his accusers was sued in 2017 for allegedly making false sexual misconduct accusations against a student at Hamilton University.

The lawyers James assigned to the investigation, Joon Kim and Anne Clark, are also named in the complaint, as Cuomo says they were not impartial. Kim previously investigated the former governor, and Clark is a plaintiff attorney specializing in workplace discrimination.

Additionally, James called Cuomo a "serial sexual harasser" and "sick and pathetic," violating one of the American Bar Association's responsibilities of a prosecutor, which states, "In the context of a criminal prosecution, a prosecutor's extrajudicial statement can create the additional problem of increasing public condemnation of the accused," Cuomo says in his complaint.

In a statement to NPR on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said: "Attorney General James, Joon Kim, and Anne Clark hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. Mr. Cuomo resigned after an independent investigation revealed that he preyed on multiple women who worked for him. New Yorkers are ready to move forward and close this sordid chapter in our state's history."

James never filed any criminal charges against Cuomo. In the report, she stated despite its findings, "we do not reach in this report a conclusion as to whether the conduct amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution."

Cuomo did face a misdemeanor criminal charge of forcible touching filed by the Albany County Sheriff's Department, but it was dropped in January.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie