Campaign speech? Attorney General Letitia James goes on offensive against Cuomo

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James remained quiet as allies of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the investigation that led to his resignation, but she used a speech Wednesday before the Association for a Better New York to say, "That changes today."

James' investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including a state trooper assigned to his security detail, which Cuomo has denied.

"The former governor has spent a lot of energy criticizing it and me," James said. "Until now, I've chosen to take the high road. I've chosen not to respond in detail. That changes today."

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James used the speech to sharply criticize the former governor and his treatment of women.

"Mr. Cuomo broke the laws he championed," James said. "He has never taken responsibility for his own conduct. He has never held himself accountable for how his behavior affected our state government."

Cuomo, who has not been charged with any crimes, remains under investigation by several district attorney offices around the state.

James noted that her investigation began based on a referral from Cuomo himself. She said Cuomo did not wait for such a referral when he, as attorney general of the state, investigated former Governor Eliot Spitzer.

"My office appointed outside, independent investigators," she said. "By contrast, Mr. Cuomo used his own staff."

Cuomo's allies have called James' investigation politically motivated and suggested it was meant to remove him from office so she could ascend to the governor's office.

On Wednesday, James demurred when asked whether she is running for governor.

"It was a wonderful breakfast," she said as she left to applause. "I'm so glad all of you are here. It's a packed room. I'm focusing on my work."

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Cuomo's spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, repeated his tweet from months ago, "Mark my words: Tish James will be announcing a run for governor within months."

At this point, only current Governor Kathy Hochul has officially stated she is running next year, though Public Advocate Jumaane Williams announced this week he has formed an exploratory committee.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was a candidate for president leading up to the 2020 election, has also hinted at a potential run.

"I want to keep serving," he said. "I want to stay involved in public life."

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