New York trooper says Cuomo and aide retaliated against her after harassment lawsuit
A New York state trooper claimed former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a top aide retaliated against her after she filed a lawsuit against him in federal court.
Driving the news: The trooper's attorneys amended their complaint on Friday and added Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi as a defendant after he called the lawsuit an effort to "extort" a settlement.
- Her lawyers said Azzopardi's statement "was intended to retaliate against Trooper 1 and dissuade her from continuing to pursue her legal claims."
Why it matters: The trooper, whose allegation first appeared in an independent report detailing sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo from multiple women, said Cuomo subjected her to sexual remarks and on occasion ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and her back.
- The trooper, whose name was redacted in the lawsuit, also sued Cuomo’s former top aide Melissa DeRosa and New York State Police for violating civil rights laws by allowing the sexual harassment to occur and retaliating against her for protesting discrimination on the basis of her sex.
- The trooper is seeking damages for "severe mental anguish and emotional distress" and a formal judgment that Cuomo his aides and state police violated civil laws prohibiting sexual harassment.
What they're saying: “Trooper 1 will not be bullied into silence by Cuomo or his enablers," Valdi Licul, the trooper's lawyer, said in a statement.
- "The ex-Governor has continued to follow the harasser’s playbook of shaming and attacking his victims by falsely accusing Trooper 1 and our firm of extortion simply because she asserted her legal rights," he added.
The other side: Azzopardi said in a tweet that "there are still facts out there and there is a federal lawsuit filed against this firm for facilitating negative press coverage to extort money claims."
The big picture: Cuomo resigned in August following the publication of the independent report but was not criminally charged with misdemeanor sex crimes.
- New York district attorneys found Cuomo’s accusers "credible" but said the evidence against him wasn’t strong enough to press criminal charges.
Go deeper: Congress passes landmark #MeToo bill