Former Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed ‘cancellation culture’ for his own resignation last year during a speech at a Brooklyn church on Sunday morning – his first public address since stepping down the year last.
The former state chief executive says James’ investigation, which detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo by 11 women, amounted to nullifying an election, even though he voluntarily chose to resign last August rather than face impeachment proceedings from the Assembly.
“They wanted to do with politics what they could not do with law. They used cancel culture to effectively cancel an election,” Cuomo told congregants at God’s Battalion of Prayer Church in East Flatbush on March 6.
During his nearly half-hour remarks, Cuomo noted that district attorneys across the state declined to press charges based on the James investigation.
Four of the prosecutors have publicly stated that they find the allegations credible or that they believe the victims, but added that the evidence was insufficient to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
The latest prosecutor to drop his case, Gregory Oakes of upstate Oswego, made such a finding over an allegation that Cuomo touched National Grid worker Virginia Limmiatis in the chest in 2017, reported the New York Post, but the prosecutor pointed out:
“This should in no way be a positive reflection on Andrew Cuomo. This decision is not an exoneration,” according to Oakes.
Still, the governor said on Sunday that AD decisions justified it.
“What does it mean that six district attorneys from across the state, Democrats and Republicans, male and female, black and white, have spent tens of millions of dollars on investigations — your money, not theirs. – and they haven’t found a single Case? So 11 months later, the truth is out,” Cuomo said.
The Sunday screed, which aired on Cuomo’s campaign website, comes after the former governor launched a statewide blitz last Monday in an attempt to revive his public image using the same arguments regarding prosecutors’ refusal to prosecute him.
So far, his campaign has spent $1.27 million on ad packages, according to ad tracking company AdImpact.
On Sunday he was introduced by the church’s pastor, the Reverend Alfred Cockfield II, who described Cuomo as a “special guest” and a “friend”.
“He’s a buddy. I’ve never turned my back on my friends,” Cockfield said.
Cuomo in 2021 appointed the pastor to the Long Island Power Authority board, and the pol previously used the church dais to protest deteriorating conditions at NYCHA developments in 2018.
The ex-governor began his speech at Brooklyn’s Central House of Worship by reiterating his apology for his behavior which he said failed to keep up with social norms which ‘have been changing rapidly’, but he again denied any wrongdoing.
“I’m really, really sorry. I apologized many times and learned a powerful lesson, and I paid a very high price to learn that lesson,” he said. “However, the truth is also that, contrary to what my political opponents might have you believe, nothing I did violated any law or regulation.”
The explosive investigation released in August includes allegations ranging from inappropriate comments to more serious charges, such as groping former staffer Brittany Commisso at the governor’s mansion in late 2020.
Cuomo previously blamed ‘cancellation culture’ in March 2021, when many prominent New York Democrats called on him to step down as more women leveled accusations of misconduct against the once politician powerful.
Cuomo also slammed CNN for firing his brother and Chris Cuomo for violating journalistic ethics by helping the embattled governor defend himself against the mounting allegations.
The former governor was a recurring guest on his brother’s top-rated prime-time show, but the politician claimed the younger Cuomo had done nothing wrong.
“He had nothing to do with anything,” Cuomo said. “They fired him and they said he broke a journalistic rule – he didn’t report on the story, he wasn’t a journalist. He was a brother.”
Cuomo said he would not rule out a candidacy, and he was spotted having dinner in Midtown on Thursday with fellow former governor across the Hudson River, Chris Christie.
Cuomo made no announcement on Sunday, but he warned of “infighting” among Democrats offering an opening to Donald Trump. He ended his speech looking like he was in campaign mode, quoting a famous line from the late Georgian civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis.
“Let’s make trouble, have good trips, and make this date the greatest state in the country,” Cuomo said.
James, through his campaign, denounced Cuomo for his church appearance in a searing statement.
“Serial sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo won’t even spare a house of worship from his lies. Even though multiple independent investigations have found his victims credible, Cuomo continues to blame everyone but himself. Cuomo wasn’t railroad he resigned so as not to be impeached,” she said.
“New Yorkers are ready to move forward with this sick and pathetic man,” the state’s top attorney added.