'Vindicated' Cuomo Says AG James Had Political Motive for Probe, Is Cause of CNN Chaos New York Attorney General Letitia James. (Seth Wenig/AP)
By Nicole Wells | Monday, 07 February 2022 05:47 PM
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes New York Attorney General Letitia James was politically motivated to remove him from office and says he regrets resigning over sexual misconduct claims.
He also believes that James is to blame for the chaos at CNN.
"I never resigned because I said I did something wrong," the former governor told Bloomberg Monday. "I said, I'm resigning because I don't want to be a distraction."
Cuomo stepped down last year following the release of James’ report, which was based on the claims of 11 women who said he had sexually harassed them.
With a criminal charge against him dropped, and the last of five criminal investigations finished with no charges being brought, Cuomo said he has been "vindicated."
He said he now regrets his decision and should have stood firm in the face of the allegations.
"[The report] hurt a lot of people in a lot of different ways," he told Bloomberg. "And it was a brand of ugly politics like I had never seen before," adding that his brother getting fired from CNN upset him more than his own resignation.
Chris Cuomo was fired for using his media contacts to seek information about the women accusing his older brother of sexual harassment.
Chris Cuomo last week blew the whistle to CNN management over President Jeff Zucker's years-long affair with a fellow executive.
Zucker resigned soon after.
"It turns out in a remarkably short period of time that it did become all bogus," Cuomo told Bloomberg about his own sexual impropriety allegations. "11 became zero."
"If you do an honest summary, which is what I get from people on the street, I have been vindicated," he continued.
While he wouldn’t rule out another run for political office, Cuomo told Bloomberg that he would only do so after he had "exposed" James.
"I'm still focused on communicating what happened here," he said. "Because as a precedent, it has to be exposed. Vindication is not the reason to run for office."
James’ plan to challenge Cuomo’s successor, Gov. Kathy Hochul, for the Democratic nomination this year lasted little more than a month, the New York Post reported at the beginning of December.
Former U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-Harlem, reacted to James’ announcement by telling the Post, "Thank God. I’m relieved."
Rangel said James would have been accused of a "conflict of interest" because of her investigation into Cuomo.
"She ran the risk of tarnishing her reputation," he said.
James said her investigation found the truth, and told Bloomberg, "No one, including Andrew Cuomo, can dispute the fact that multiple investigations found allegations of sexual harassment against him to be credible."
"Only he is to blame for inappropriately touching his own staff and then quitting so he didn't have to face impeachment," James said. "His baseless attacks won't change the reality – Andrew Cuomo is a serial sexual harasser."
The women who spoke with the AG's office said Cuomo's interactions with them were mostly non-physical. They also said he made comments and told jokes that made them feel uncomfortable.
Former staffer Brittany Commisso claimed he groped her breast, which Cuomo denied.