Cuomo asks court to force turnover of misconduct inquiry documents

ALBANY — Attorneys for former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have filed motions seeking thousands of documents from both a top legislative committee and Attorney General Letitia James’ office related to their respective investigations of the ex-governor.

Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin asked a federal trial court to compel the state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee as well as the attorney general’s office to turn over documents and investigative materials that were used in James’ probe of sexual misconduct allegations against the former governor as well as the legislature report the committee released a few months after Cuomo resigned in August 2021.

This latest court battle comes as Cuomo has attempted to rehabilitate an image shredded by the charges of sexual harassment and misconduct from nearly a dozen women — including current and former Executive Chamber staffers.

According to the motions filed in the US District Court in Manhattan this week, the reports overseen by James and the Assembly committee and a more recent federal lawsuit filed by a female State Trooper relied on exhaustive testimony from witnesses, thousands of documents and other findings that Cuomo’s legal team has not had access to.

The former governor filed a subpoena seeking the materials in July, months after the trooper’s lawsuit accused him of sexual harassment including inappropriately touching her and kissing her on the cheek when she served on Cuomo’s protective detail.

Both the Assembly Judiciary Committee and James have refused to produce documents in compliance with the subpoena, the motions claim.

Cuomo is arguing that as part of his defense against the lawsuit, he is entitled to the material underlying the two reports, which were cited extensively by the trooper’s complaint. He and his attorneys have repeatedly sought to cast doubt on both reports, while Glavin has disputed the credibility of some of the women who accused Cuomo of misconduct or harassment.

“Although AG James promised a transparent process, she has consistently sought to avoid any scrutiny of the investigation, selectively releasing only a small subset of materials … and steadfastly refusing to make public information that exculpates Gov. Cuomo and/or undermines the credibility of certain witnesses,” one motion reads.

The trooper’s suit was filed in February. Charlotte Bennett, a former Executive Chamber staffer, filed her own federal lawsuit against Cuomo and several of his top aids last month. Bennett has accused Cuomo of subjecting her to sexualized and inappropriate comments and questions about her personal relationships.

Though neither the committee nor James are parties in either of the harassment lawsuits filed against Cuomo, his attorneys are using a legal procedure that allows them to serve non-parties with subpoenas requiring them to produce relevant and related documents.

The motions filed in court say that Cuomo’s legal team has engaged in a back-and-forth with counsel for the attorney general and the Judiciary Committee since July in an attempt to gain access to documents used in their respective reports, plus any communication between the two offices.

According to the motions, the committee and the attorney general’s office have claimed attorney-client privilege and deemed the requested documents irrelevant in response to Cuomo’s subpoenas.

The Judiciary Committee’s report spanned a wide range of alleged misconduct during Cuomo’s final years in office, including the sexual misconduct allegations as well as ethical breaches related to the publication of his COVID-19 memoir and the mishandling of information regarding nursing home deaths during the pandemic .

The committee’s chair, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, declined to comment on the new motions. The attorney general’s office did not respond to a query.

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