Former Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed “cancel culture” for his own resignation last year during a speech at a Brooklyn church on Sunday morning — his first public address since he stepped down last year.
The former state chief executive said James’s investigation, which detailed sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo by 11 women, amounted to overturning an election, even though he voluntarily chose to step down last August rather than face Assembly impeachment proceedings.
“They wanted to do with politics that which they couldn’t do with the law. They used cancel culture to effectively overturn an election,” Cuomo told congregants of the God’s Battalion of Prayer church in East Flatbush on March 6.
During his nearly half-hour remarks, Cuomo noted that district attorneys from around the state declined to press charges based on the James investigation.
Four of the prosecutors publicly said they found the allegations credible or they believed the victims, but added that the evidence was not enough to prove accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.
The last DA to drop his case, upstate Oswego’s Gregory Oakes, made such a conclusion about an allegation that Cuomo touched the chest of National Grid employee Virginia Limmiatis in 2017, the New York Post reported, but the prosecutor emphasized:
“In no way should this be a positive reflection on Andrew Cuomo. This decision is not an exoneration,” according to Oakes.
Still, the governor said on Sunday that the DA decisions vindicated him.
“What does it mean that six district attorneys from all across the state, Democrats and Republicans, male and female, black and white, tens of millions of dollars spent in investigations — your money, not theirs — and they didn’t find a single case? So 11 months later, the truth is known,” Cuomo said.
The Sunday screed, broadcast on Cuomo’s campaign website, comes after the former governor launched a statewide ad blitz last Monday trying to revive his public image using the same arguments about the DAs declining to prosecute him.
His campaign has spent $1.27 million on the advertising packages so far, according to ad tracking company AdImpact.
On Sunday, he was introduced by church pastor Reverend Alfred Cockfield II, who described Cuomo as “special guest” and as a “friend.”
“He’s a friend. I’ve never turned my back on friends,” said Cockfield.
Cuomo, in 2021, appointed the clergyman to the board of the Long Island Power Authority, and the pol previously used the church’s dais to rail against decaying conditions at NYCHA developments in 2018.
The ex-governor started his speech at the central Brooklyn house of worship reiterating apologies for his behavior which he said failed to keep up with social norms that “evolved quickly,” but he again denied any wrongdoing.
“I am truly, truly sorry. I’ve apologized many times and I’ve learned a powerful lesson, and I paid a very high price for learning that lesson,” he said. “However, the truth is also that, contrary to what my political opponents would have had you believe, nothing I did violated the law or the regulation.”
The bombshell investigation released in August includes allegations varying from making inappropriate comments to more serious charges, such as groping former staffer Brittany Commisso at the Governor’s Mansion on late 2020.
Cuomo previously blamed “cancel culture” in March of 2021, when numerous prominent New York Democrats called for him to step down as more and more women came forward with misconduct accusations against the once-powerful politician.
Cuomo also slammed CNN for firing his brother and erstwhile Prime Time anchor Chris Cuomo for breaching 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 show, but the politician claimed that the younger Cuomo also did nothing wrong.
“He had nothing to do with anything,” Cuomo said. “They fired him and they said he violated a journalistic rule — he wasn’t reporting on the story, he wasn’t a journalist. He was a brother.”
Cuomo didn’t make any announcements Sunday, but he warned of “infighting” among Democrats providing an opening for Donald Trump. He ended his speech sounding like he was in campaign mode, citing a famous phrase by late civil rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
“Let’s make some trouble, let’s make some good travel, and let’s make this date the greatest state in the nation,” Cuomo said.
James, through her 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 found his victims to be credible, Cuomo continues to blame everyone but himself. Cuomo wasn’t railroaded; he quit so he wouldn’t be impeached,” she said.
“New Yorkers are ready to move forward from this sick, pathetic man,” the state’s top prosecutor added.