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Gov. Andrew Cuomo walks his dog, Captain, at the Executive Mansion in Albany yesterday. Photo: Hans Pennink/AP

A lawyer for Cuomo appeared to dig him deeper yesterday as she previewed his sexual harassment defense, arguing that running his hands over a state trooper on the job wasn't necessarily criminal — or even unacceptable.

Why it matters: The defense looks unlikely to persuade New York legislators who are "on the brink" of impeaching Cuomo, as The New Yorker puts it.

The lawyer, Rita Glavin, told CNN's Pamela Brown during a live, 51-minute interview that Cuomo has "talked about how he does slip at times. He's not perfect."

  • When Brown pressed the lawyer on what she meant by "slip," Glavin replied: "Oh, he said it in his video statements ... He will say 'darling,' he will say 'sweetheart,' he does ask people questions about their personal lives. He didn't think that that was improper."

The New York state attorney general's report says there's a trooper on Cuomo's protective detail who he "harassed ... on a number of occasions."

  • "The governor is going to address this very, very soon," Glavin said. "He wants to personally address that."
  • "I can tell you what I’ve read with respect to the state trooper is not criminal conduct," she added.

The anchor, paraphrasing the report, pressed Glavin on the description "that he allegedly touched her down her back, and touched her on the stomach, and between her … belly button and her private parts — that’s not illegal conduct?"

  • Glavin jumped in: "That's not criminal conduct as far as I know."
  • Brown further pressed, asking, "So if he did that, is that acceptable behavior?"
  • "Depends on what the context of the circumstances were," the lawyer replied
  • "[T]he Governor has tremendous respect for her, believes she has been an excellent member of her detail. ... He feels very, very badly about that — that I do know, and I know he's going to address this." 

What's new: An aide who accused Cuomo of groping her spoke publicly for the first time, told "CBS This Morning and the Albany Times Union that "the governor needs to be held accountable."

  • "What he did to me was a crime," said Brittany Commisso, an executive assistant to Cuomo in a "CBS This Morning" interview set to air in full on Monday.

Go deeper

Louisiana state trooper charged in violent beating of Black motorist

The Louisiana State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge. Photo: Sean Gardner via Getty Images

A former Louisiana State Police trooper was charged Thursday with a civil rights violation for beating a Black motorist 18 times with a flashlight, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Former state trooper Jacob Brown's indictment is the first criminal case to come out of federal investigations into attacks in which state troopers and their bosses concealed incidents of misconduct, according to the AP.

Sep 23, 2021 - Health

Howard Zucker resigns as New York health commissioner

Howard Zucker, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, speaks during a news conference. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York State health commissioner Howard Zucker resigned on Thursday following pressure for his role in withholding nursing home COVID-19 death numbers under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Why it matters: Zucker led New York's response to COVID-19 last year but came under fire for reportedly undercounting the death toll in nursing homes by as much as 50%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

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