ALBANY, N.Y. — Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants taxpayers to pick up his tab for legal defense against a former state trooper’s ongoing sexual harassment suit — and he’s suing the state’s top attorney to get his way.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin argues that state Attorney General Tish James erred in her April decision denying Cuomo’s request for state representation or taxpayer-funded private legal counsel in the case — one of several sexual harassment allegations that led to his resignation a year ago.
“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,” charges the lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan state court on Wednesday, the same day James was deposing former President Donald Trump in an unrelated case.
In February, the female state trooper on Cuomo’s security detail sued the ex-governor, his former top aides Melissa DeRosa and Rich Azzopardi and state police over sexual harassment claims against Cuomo that were detailed in James’ report last year on his actions.
The plaintiff, known as Trooper 1, was among 11 women who James’ report last August said were sexually harassed by the three-term Democratic governor; he resigned a week after James’ report.
Cuomo appears to have been largely paying his legal bills with the roughly $16 million in his campaign account since leaving office, but his attorney contends he should not be on the hook for defending himself against allegations that came when he was governor.
Cuomo’s lawsuit also continues his long-held contention that James’ report on his conduct was flawed and politically motivated, saying the report was “incomplete, biased, flawed and misleading.”
James’ office has maintained the state is not legally required to pay for Cuomo’s legal defense or represent him, and her office fired back at the lawsuit. She is seeking a second term in November after briefly running for governor, only to decide to run again for her current seat.
“Andrew Cuomo is trying to force New Yorkers to pay his legal bills because he believes sexual harassment was within his ‘scope of employment’ as governor,” James’ office said in a statement.
“Sexually harassing young women who work for you is not part of anyone’s job description. 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.”