Disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s camp is crowing after the Albany County district attorney denounced the county sheriff, Craig Apple, for “unilaterally and inexplicably” filing that sex-crime charge. But the contretemps hardly vindicates the Cuomo team’s scorched-earth effort to pretend the larger case that forced Cuomo out of office was nothing but a political hit job.
In particular, their attacks on state Attorney General Letitia James, now a candidate for governor, for simply doing her job.
They insinuate James collusion with Apple in his filing of the misdemeanor criminal forcible-touching charge: “The timing of this charge, on the eve of Tish James announcing her run for governor, is highly suspect and should give all of us pause that the heavy hand of politics is behind this decision,” Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin declared.
With regular missives from his spokesthug Rich Azzopardi, the ex-gov is claiming James conducted a “sham” investigation to serve her political ambitions. She rightly dismisses that criticism as part of Cuomo’s continued effort to “undermine” and “politicize” her findings.
To her credit, James brought in former acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim and employment discrimination lawyer Anne Clark to gather and review thousands of pieces of evidence, substantiating a dozen allegations against him.
That doesn’t mean any of it could lead to a guilty verdict in court, but the testimony of 11 different women clearly would have led to the gov’s impeachment and removal from office if he hadn’t resigned. And it ought to end his political career.
Other than quibbling over details of various accusations, his team’s main defense has always been to attack his accusers and the investigators. Even before Cuomo quit, Azzopardi’s badmouthing of James had earned him a written rebuke from the chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Cuomo apparently thinks James was supposed to protect him, simply because he supported her rise to AG. Instead, she did her job in both the harassment investigation and her earlier probe of his coverup of the true toll of his deadly nursing-home order.
We’re unlikely to support James’ political ambitions, but Team Cuomo’s attacks on her integrity are wildly off-base — just more trademark Andrew bullying, except he no longer has the power to bully effectively.
And for that, all New York owes Tish James and his 11 brave accusers — as well as all who worked to expose the truth about the nursing-home horrors — a huge debt of gratitude.