A Manhattan judge appeared to side with Andrew Cuomo on Thursday as the disgraced ex-governor tried to defend himself in a lawsuit alleging he sexually molested a police officer, from the New Yorker to be financed by taxpayers.
During more than two hours of oral arguments, attorneys for Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James’ office argued over whether Cuomo was acting as part of his duty as governor when the alleged harassment occurred – which would entitle him to a free defense.
“Conduct that underlies a sexual harassment claim is conduct that is motivated by personal motives and is not in the interests of the employer,” AG attorney Andrew Amer said, arguing that Cuomo was not serving as governor at the time .
But Manhattan Superior Court Justice Shlomo Hagler countered, “I’ve seen cases of touching and hugging and unfortunate comments and jokes — there was a [legal] Defense in 99% of those cases.”
“It’s very rare for a sexual harassment case to result in a denial,” Hagler said. “It’s far and wide.”
The three-term former Democrat filed a lawsuit against James’ office in August, arguing that he is entitled to a state-funded defense in the federal lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn police officer alleging that he made lewd comments and inappropriately touched her.
If Cuomo can show that he was acting as governor when the alleged conduct occurred, he would be entitled to free legal defense funded by New York taxpayers.
At the beginning of the hearing, ex-government attorney Theresa Trzaskoma argued that “every interaction” that the accuser — referred to as “Soldier 1” in the AG report on the Bureau’s sexual misconduct investigation into Cuomo — took place, while she was “protecting Governor Cuomo.”
“Except when he was asleep, there was literally not a moment when the governor didn’t act as governor,” Trzaskoma said during the hearing, which was held via video.
Hagler said he will rule on the case at a later date and will ask attorneys for both sides to present further arguments in court filings in late January.
Cuomo, 65, resigned in August 2021 as the AG investigated allegations that he had sexually molested nearly a dozen women.
Other scandals against the governor also surfaced before his resignation, including his alleged cover-up of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 and his alleged use of staff to write a book about the pandemic.
He has denied the allegations.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/15/judge-leans-towards-arguments-that-andrew-cuomo-should-get-free-defense-in-harass-case/ The judge is prone to arguments that Andrew Cuomo should get a free defense in a harassment case