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Ms. James, the New York attorney general, was accused by Mr. Cuomo of violating conduct rules in her investigation of sexual harassment accusations against him.
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Former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo filed a lengthy state ethics complaint on Tuesday against Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, accusing her of deliberately mishandling the investigation that found he sexually harassed multiple former and current government employees.
Mr. Cuomo, who resigned in August 2021 shortly after Ms. James unveiled the investigation’s findings, filed the complaint with a committee in the state’s court system tasked with disciplining lawyers found to have violated professional conduct rules.
The committee could dismiss the complaint because of insufficient evidence, move to investigate the charges or even initiate disciplinary proceedings. Disciplinary actions could range from a confidential or public letter of admonishment to censure, disbarment or suspension from practicing law.
The 48-page complaint marks the latest effort by Mr. Cuomo in his ongoing effort to salvage his reputation and lash back at his attackers after he resigned in disgrace amid multiple scandals and the threat of impeachment last year.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Cuomo emailed a Daily News opinion article to his supporters that raised questions about some of the claims made against him, and suggested that he may have been the victim of an excess of #MeToo movement zeal. Mr. Cuomo has also spent $60,000 in the last month promoting the article through Facebook ads aimed at reframing the narrative on the circumstances surrounding his resignation.
The path to resignation. After drawing national praise for his leadership in the early days of the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York was confronted with several scandals that eventually led to the announcement of his resignation on Aug. 10, 2021. Here is what to know about his political demise:
Sexual harassment accusations. Multiple women accused Mr. Cuomo of harassment, including groping and lewd remarks. An inquiry by the New York State attorney general corroborated the accounts. Five criminal inquiries into allegations of sexual misconduct were launched against Mr. Cuomo; the cases were dropped due to insufficient evidence, despite the women accusing the former governor being found to be credible.
Nursing home controversy. The Cuomo administration came under fire for undercounting the number of nursing-home deaths caused by Covid-19. An audit released in 2022 by the state comptroller found that Health Department officials at times underreported the full death toll by as much as 50 percent from April 2020 to February 2021.
Book deal. The attorney general’s report found that Mr. Cuomo used state workers to produce his pandemic memoir, breaking a promise to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics not to use state resources for its completion. The board voted to revoke its authorization for the book, though a judge subsequently ruled the board had violated Mr. Cuomo’s due process in seeking that the former governor return his book earnings.
Chris Cuomo’s involvement. Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor and Andrew Cuomo’s brother, was suspended indefinitely by the network on Nov. 30, after the New York State attorney general released new evidence about his far-reaching efforts to assist his sibling that were in breach of journalistic standards. He was fired on Dec. 4.
And earlier in August, he won a court battle when a judge ruled that Mr. Cuomo would not have to turn over the proceeds of his $5.1 million book deal that a state ethics board was seeking to recoup.
Mr. Cuomo spent millions of dollars earlier this year on television ads that sought to rehabilitate his image. He briefly re-emerged from the political wilderness when he spoke at a handful of Black churches, stoking short-lived speculation that he would attempt a political comeback this year, though he has since kept a relatively low profile.
The complaint filed on Tuesday lays out many of the arguments and grievances that Mr. Cuomo has previously voiced about the investigation, including his contention that the final report was misleading and inaccurate, omitted evidence that favored him and was wielded for political purposes by Ms. James, who briefly ran for governor following Mr. Cuomo’s resignation.
“A.G. James cynically manipulated a legal process for personal, political gain,” according to the complaint, which is signed by Mr. Cuomo. The complaint accused Ms. James of disclosing the report at a news conference that “was meant to be prejudicial and highly inflammatory, and to villainize me in the public eye, and to mislead the public and the press that I had sexually harassed 11 women, which simply was not true.”
The complaint argues that Ms. James, as well as Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark, the outside lawyers who conducted the investigation, violated a number of rules of professional conduct, including one that prohibits lawyers from engaging “in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
“Mr. Cuomo resigned after an independent investigation revealed that he preyed on multiple women who worked for him,” Delaney Kempner, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said in a statement. “New Yorkers are ready to move forward and close this sordid chapter in our state’s history.”
The members of the attorney grievance committee are appointed by the court and are tasked with addressing and investigating professional misconduct complaints filed against lawyers in New York. They conduct their work in private, an obscure process that can often move at a sluggish pace and be difficult for the public to follow.
Last year, the committee temporarily suspended Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who served as President Trump’s longtime lawyer, while it considers disciplinary charges for his role in misleading the public about the 2020 election results.
The six-month investigation into the sexual harassment claims against Mr. Cuomo detailed multiple instances in which women accused Mr. Cuomo of engaging in a range of inappropriate and illegal behavior, including unwanted touching and an unsolicited kiss, as well as an instance in which he groped a former aide’s breast. Mr. Cuomo has apologized for making any of the women feel uncomfortable, but he has vehemently denied ever touching anyone inappropriately, while his lawyers have sought to undermine the veracity of the women’s accounts.
Five district attorneys opened investigations into Mr. Cuomo following the attorney general’s report, but all five concluded that there were insufficient legal grounds to bring criminal charges against Mr. Cuomo, though several stressed that they had found the women to be credible.