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Former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo wants taxpayers to pay for his private legal defense in sexual harassment case

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Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Wednesday, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Letitia James after she denied his request to have the state pay for his private legal defense in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him. In his lawsuit against James, Cuomo argued that according to state law, his legal fees must be covered since the allegations "occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his public employment or duties."

"Sexually harassing young women who work for you is not part of anyone's job description," a spokesperson for the New York attorney general's office replied in a statement on Thursday, Reuters reported. "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 response to the denial, Cuomo's attorney Rita Glavin said, "James's denial of Governor Cuomo's request for counsel was arbitrary, capricious, contrary to the plain text of the statute, biased, personally and politically conflicted."

James released a report last year containing the results of a five-month independent investigation. James stated, "The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law."

Following the investigation results, Cuomo resigned from office in August 2021.

In March, Cuomo visited a New York church and gave a speech in which he stated, "I resigned as governor, the press roasted me, my colleagues were ridiculed, my brother was fired."

Andrew Cuomo insisted that he and his brother, Chris Cuomo, were the victims of "cancel culture." He stated that the "political sharks" came after him because they "smelled blood."

Despite Cuomo's confidence that certain political figures had it out for him, the former governor somehow managed to evade any criminal charges. The last prosecutor to investigate the allegations against Cuomo stated that there was no legal basis to pursue the case.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Cuomo, said, "The report has been reviewed by five separate district attorneys and every single one has declined to move forward based on it — it was nothing more than a political document and holds no legal weight. Their political games continue."

A New York state trooper filed a lawsuit against Cuomo in February. The trooper, who has chosen to remain anonymous, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing at least 11 women between 2013 and 2021.

One of Cuomo's former top aides, Melissa DeRosa, was also listed in the lawsuit. According to Cuomo's petition, she too requested to have her private legal fees covered by the state, and her request was accepted.

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