NEW YORK (AP) â€” Just six months after he resigned from office in disgrace over sexual harassment allegations, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared to be hinting at a political comeback in remarks at a Brooklyn church on Sunday.
The Democrat made a campaign-like stop at a Brooklyn church Sunday, delivering a speech in which he condemned â€œcancel culture.â€ The public appearance, his first since leaving office, came a week after Cuomoâ€™s campaign launched a digital and television advertising campaign pushing a similar message: He was driven from office unfairly.
Cuomo quoted the Bible several times as he described his travails then went on the offensive to attack the â€œpolitical sharksâ€ in Albany who, he said, â€œsmelled bloodâ€ and exploited the situation for political gain.
â€œThe actions against me were prosecutorial misconduct,â€ Cuomo said, repeating a theme he has pushed from the outset. â€œThey used cancel culture to effectively overturn an election.â€
Democratic State Attorney General Letitia James, who released the report last summer that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, hit back at the former governor Sunday.
â€œSerial sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo wonâ€™t even spare a house of worship from his lies,â€ James said in a statement. â€œEven though multiple independent investigations found his victims to be credible, Cuomo continues to blame everyone but himself.â€
Cuomo resigned in August, days after an independent probe found he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women and that he and aides worked to retaliate against an accuser. On Sunday, Cuomo acknowledged his behavior wasnâ€™t appropriate but quickly added that nothing he did violated the law.
â€œI didnâ€™t appreciate how fast the perspectives changed,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve learned a powerful lesson and paid a very high price for learning that lesson. God isnâ€™t finished with me yet.â€
Cuomo hasnâ€™t said heâ€™s running for office, but is still sitting on a multimillion dollar campaign war chest he could use to finance another run.
Several district attorneys in New York said they found Cuomoâ€™s accusers â€œcredible,â€ but said the available evidence wasnâ€™t strong enough to press criminal charges against him. Last month, a New York state trooper sued him claiming he caused her severe mental anguish and emotional distress by touching her inappropriately and making suggestive comments. A Cuomo spokesperson called the suit a â€œcheap cash extortion.â€
Cuomo used his platform Sunday mostly to condemn a social media-fueled climate he said is growing and dangerous.
â€œAny accusation can trigger condemnation without facts or due process,â€ he said. â€œWe are a nation of laws, not a nation of tweets. Woe unto us if we allow that to become our new justice system.â€
Returning several times to a Biblical metaphor of crossing a bridge to describe his journey, Cuomo hinted he wonâ€™t stay out of the spotlight.
â€œThe Bible teaches perseverance, it teaches us to get off the mat,â€ he said. â€œThey broke my heart but they didnâ€™t break my spirit. I want to take the energy that could have made me bitter and make us better.â€