State Watch

Andrew Cuomo launches ad blitz portraying ex-governor as victim

AP-Richard Drew

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is launching an ad blitz that portrays him as a victim of political attacks, nearly seven months after he resigned from office following an investigation that found he sexually harassed multiple women.

The 30-second ad, dubbed “Politics vs. the Law,” edits together a number of television clips that raise doubts about the investigation led by New York State Attorney General Letitia James (D), which probed allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo. It does not, however, mention the attorney general by name.

It also references decisions made by five New York district attorneys to not prosecute sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo. A number of those prosecutors, however, have emphasized that their decision not to move forward with charges did not undermine the credibility of the accusations.

“Political attacks won. And New Yorkers lost a proven leader,” the ad concludes.

The ad, paid for by Friends of Andrew Cuomo, hit the airwaves on Monday and is running on statewide broadcast, cable and digital media. Cuomo’s campaign account spent $369,000 on the ad, according to The New York Times, citing ad-tracking firm AdImpact.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for James’ office told The Hill that it was “shameful” for Cuomo to attack the accounts of women who have accused him of sexual harassment.

“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,” the spokesperson said. “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.”

Cuomo resigned from office in August after James’ investigation found that he sexually harassed 11 women. Since then, his aides and lawyers have released statements and held press conferences regarding the investigation, though the ex-governor himself has maintained a relatively low profile.

Last month, however, Cuomo spoke to Bloomberg in a television interview, telling the outlet he feels “vindicated.”

“It turns out in a remarkably short period of time that it did become all bogus. 11 became zero,” Cuomo said.

“If you do an honest summary, which is what I get from people on the street, I have been vindicated,” he added.

The former governor also declined to discuss his political future until he feels a sense of closure when it comes to James’ investigation. 

“I’m still focused on communicating what happened here. Because as a precedent, it has to be exposed,” Cuomo said. “Vindication is not the reason to run for office.”

Two sources who spoke with Cuomo or his team this month, however, told the Times that they did not get the impression that the former governor was planning a bid for public office this cycle.

Updated at 3:26 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo Letitia James Sexual harassment

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