Taxpayers will be left footing the bill to defend disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his sexual harassment lawsuit.
Nearly a dozen women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, leading to his resignation in August 2021.
Cuomo was sued by a State Trooper last year, who alleges that he hit on her, kissed her, and “placed the palm of his hand on her belly button and slid it across her waist to her right hip.”
According to a report from the New York Post, “the former governor claimed the sex harassment accusations were made while he was governor — entitling him to a state-funded defense.”
A lawyer with the Attorney General, Andrew Amer, said they had denied the taxpayer-funded defense because “all of the conduct was to serve [Cuomo’s] own self-interest.”
“These are not allegations where the conduct occurred while they were off duty. These are work place allegations,” Cuomo’s lawyer argued.
On Friday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler sided with Cuomo.
“This court grants the petition and requires that there be a defense,” Hagler said.
“[Cuomo’s] view is that everything he did was within the scope of his employment and he was just acting as the governor … when addressing trooper 1 in a friendly manner,” Hagler continued. “Did he go over the line? That is not clear cut.”
The judge said that since Cuomo has denied the allegations and claimed that he was acting appropriately as the governor, a taxpayer-funded defense can’t be denied.
“The allegations are quite disturbing,” Hagler said. “They should not be tolerated in the work place, if true.”
The Post reports that Cuomo’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi told them that, “from the very beginning, every action Tish James has taken concerning Governor Cuomo has amounted to a politicized abuse of power and every time one of them goes before a court of law, it unravels.”