Court Battles

Cuomo files ethics complaint against NY AG over misconduct investigation

Getty Images, Pacific Press

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Tuesday filed an ethics complaint accusing the state’s attorney general of misconduct during her investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, prompting his resignation.

The 48-page complaint, filed with a state court committee that oversees grievances against attorney conduct, alleges New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) “cynically manipulated” the investigation and accuses two special deputies involved in the investigation of engaging in unethical conduct.

“She engaged in a terrible and quite obvious manipulation of facts, evidence and the law, furthered a false narrative about me and hid evidence that undermined the report from the media and the public,” Cuomo said of James in the complaint.

James’s office had led a months-long inquiry into allegations against Cuomo, releasing a report in August 2021 stating the former governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women. 

Cuomo resigned a week later, saying he left office to avoid becoming a “distraction.” 

He has continued to question the report and in recent weeks has spent thousands of dollars on digital ads claiming the investigation was motivated by “political grudges” and a “#MeToo-driven rush to judgment.”

Cuomo’s complaint accuses James of violating six attorney conduct rules and alleges the two special deputies, Joon Kim and Anne Clark, violated three of those rules. 

The lengthy complaint condemns James for not releasing all of the underlying evidence that supported the report, which Cuomo alleged is “materially misleading,” and claims James has refused to address its errors. 

“It has become quite obvious that the reason the Attorney General did not want to release this information — which she subsequently decided to selectively and misleadingly release — was that the information would have contradicted her narrative,” Cuomo wrote.

Cuomo portrayed James as having a conflict of interest in the investigation, noting she launched a short-lived gubernatorial campaign in October, less than three months after the report’s release. James suspended her campaign in December, hours after reports that her office would seek to question former President Trump in a separate investigation.

The former governor also alleged the two special deputies were “anything but disinterested” because one had an “obvious disposition toward a specific result,” while the other’s office had been publicly critical of Cuomo.

A spokeswoman for James’s office said she and the deputies all “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,” the spokeswoman added.

The filing also references the committee’s decision to suspend Rudy Giuliani’s law license in the state last year after finding he made false and misleading statements to courts and the public about election fraud claims in the 2020 presidential election.

“As the Giuliani case demonstrates, no lawyer who promulgates false statements is above ethical rules and that certainly includes the Attorney General,” Cuomo wrote.

Cuomo’s filing on Tuesday is the latest salvo in the ongoing legal battle between the high-profile New York Democrats. 

Cuomo sued James’s office in August, alleging she improperly rejected his request for taxpayer-funded legal counsel in a sexual misconduct suit initiated by a member of his security detail.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo Letitia James Letitia James New York Sexual misconduct

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