Andrew Cuomo Files Lawsuit Against Office of Attorney General Letitia James For Documents From Her Sex Harassment Probe

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Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James as they attended the Celebrate Israel on 5th Avenue, New York, NY - June 3, 2018. File photo: Lev Radin, ShutterStock.com, licensed.
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James as they attended the Celebrate Israel on 5th Avenue. Cuomo, former governor of New York, has filed a complaint against the office of state Attorney General Letitia James. New York, NY – June 3, 2018. File photo: Lev Radin, ShutterStock.com, licensed.

NEW YORK, NY – Unveiling the events of a notable lawsuit, Andrew Cuomo, former governor of New York, has filed a complaint against the office of state Attorney General Letitia James. The 26-page filing in Manhattan Supreme Court stresses the public’s entitlement and interest in around 180 undisclosed interview memos from James’ 2021 investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.

The ex-governor intends to leverage these documents to argue his case in the face of two subsequent sexual harassment lawsuits, rooted in James’ investigation. Cuomo’s claim stipulates that James’ office address requests made under the Freedom of Information Law, targeting a “narrow universe” of materials associated with her inquiry.

A Democratic stronghold and former state attorney general, Cuomo relinquished his governorship within a week of the release of James’ probe. This probe brought to light allegations of sexual harassment involving at least 11 women against Cuomo. Despite denouncing the inquiry’s findings as politically driven, allies of Cuomo were disarmed by a separate 2021 report by the Democratic-controlled state Assembly, branding the evidence against Cuomo as “overwhelming“.

Cuomo, 66, following his political departure, maintains his innocence, riding on the heels of decisions by five New York district attorneys that refrained from charging him, albeit declaring the allegations credible. This lawsuit is the latest addition to a series of high-cost, taxpayer-funded legal skirmishes that haunt Cuomo, including a contention over earnings from a pandemic memoir.

While a public response from Attorney General James was pending at the time of filing the lawsuit, Judge Taryn Merkl had previously denoted Cuomo’s demands as a “significant undue burden” on James’ office. The judge cited the “broad scope” of documents Cuomo had requested then.

Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesperson, alleges that James has successfully concealed vital documents from the public. Azzopardi condemns the necessity of court intervention to rectify unlawful actions from the state’s principal legal body.

Casting a similar shadow of doubt, the Daily News Editorial Board has also lodged a FOIL request for roughly the same number of witness statements from James’ investigation. These solicitations have been, according to the board, consistently dismissed. They argue that limited exceptions exist for denying public access to state records under the New York FOIL law, of which these witness statements do not qualify.

Amidst these developments, Cory Morris, a long-standing lawyer from Long Island, identifies a familiar pattern. He sees public officials repeatedly attempting to undermine the state’s freedom of information laws. He criticizes the law’s ineffective enforcement as it doesn’t offer a real remedy despite the potential siding of courts with records-seeking litigants.

In these hard-hitting circumstances, Cuomo’s lawsuit remains pending. This significant legal standoff between former governor Cuomo and Attorney General James will continue to unfold, defining the interpretation and enforcement of freedom of information laws in New York.


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Important: This story is categorized as a crime story and thus it is important to note that charges are accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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