ALBANY — Disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo is starting a political action committee — and a podcast.

Thirteen months after leaving office amid a flood of sexual harassment allegations and facing impending impeachment, Cuomo announced in a video address Wednesday that he’s reentering the political arena with a PAC to “elect the right people” to office, spearheading a gun-safety initiative and unveiled plans to begin a weekly podcast.

In the eight-minute clip, Cuomo says he has spent much of his time since stepping down with his family, hiking and fishing, as well as restoring old cars and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Now, the former Democratic darling who received national acclaim for his daily COVID briefings during the early days of the pandemic says he’s ready to “move forward and focus on what is really important.”

“I have fought the good fight in government and politics all my life, and I am not done fighting yet,” Cuomo said.

After lamenting the state of political discourse in the country, Cuomo said the road ahead includes a politically focused podcast that will allow him to “hear what’s on your mind and to discuss ways to help improve the situation.”

“Now, this forum will be different,” he said. “My intention is to speak the full truth, unvarnished, from the inside out, frank and candid.”

The announcement comes a week after Cuomo filed a formal ethics complaint against Attorney General Letitia James.

The ex-governor and his supporters have repeatedly cast the harassment investigation spearheaded by James’ office that preceded his resignation as politically motivated. He has also accused James and the independent investigators in charge of the probe of cherry-picking evidence and withholding information from the public.

James’ office issued a scathing report last summer detailing harassment allegations from nearly a dozen women, including staffers and a female state trooper assigned to Cuomo’s security detail, who say the former politician made unwanted advances and inappropriate or offensive comments.

Several prosecutors across the state decided against bringing criminal charges against the ex-gov despite finding his accusers credible. In January, the Albany district attorney’s office announced it would no longer seek to prosecute.

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing while he and his legal team have repeatedly attacked James and questioned the credibility of the women who came forward.

Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who accused Cuomo of making inappropriate remarks and “grooming” her, sued the ex-gov last week for sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation. She is the second woman to file a federal lawsuit against Cuomo. In February, a New York state trooper who had been assigned to Cuomo’s security detail also sued him, alleging he subjected her to sexual remarks and on occasion ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and her back.

Cuomo has not strayed far from the spotlight since leaving office with roughly $18 million in campaign cash. Rumors swirled earlier this year that he was mulling a run for his old seat and he blamed “cancel culture” for his political downfall in speeches made at a pair of city churches.

Details about Cuomo’s new initiative, which he called the “Gun Safe America Project,” will be forthcoming.

“I’ve seen a lot, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve done a lot and I want to help,” Cuomo said in the video released on Wednesday.

According to campaign finance records from July, the one-time presidential prospect still has around $10 million in his campaign war chest. It’s unclear exactly how Cuomo intends to start up his fledgling PAC or who he would be supporting.

“We do not need more panderers, we need producers,” he said in the video. “We need people committed to fight for change and who get results.”

“We need people who have the character and the capacity to stand up and lead and take the heat that goes with leadership,” he added.


Denis Slattery

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