New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo may have trouble in a jury trial, should the legal process progress to that point following the state's Democratic Attorney General's findings he sexually harassed multiple women and violated federal and state laws, Professor Jonathan Turley claimed Tuesday.
Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, told "The Story" that Cuomo's public statement following the report's release essentially offered an excuse that the 63-year-old Democrat was simply engaging in "therapeutic conversations" with women – and that his rebuttals largely shifted the critical spotlight to his accusers.
"He locked in that defense," said Turley. "What he said today can be used and can be admitted into court, and that will be a problem for his counsel."
"His whole position that he was engaging in therapeutic conversations with a victim of sexual harassment is not going to go over well with a jury," he added, noting that Cuomo must therefore hope or motion for a bench trial before a judge rather than a jury.
"Unless he thinks a jury of his peers will be 12 Andrew Cuomos, I think his defense could not be higher-risk or more alienating what his arguing here are common arguments used against women in these cases."
Turley recounted how Cuomo explained his behavior by speaking about changes in societal norms, his own advanced age compared to his peers, and notably that some of his styles of greeting stem from his Italian-American heritage.
"He's Italian. I'm Italian," Turley remarked. "We don't have any problem distinguishing between tactile and criminal conduct."
Nearly all of New York's federal legislators had called for his resignation by Tuesday afternoon. House GOP Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik, who represents the North Country, went one step further in calling for the governor to be arrested.
One of Cuomo's potential opponents in the 2022 gubernatorial election, political adviser Andrew Giuliani, put out a video statement declaring that Cuomo must resign -- remarking that "the world is learning now is something New Yorkers have known over the past decade – Andrew Cuomo will stop at nothing to hold onto power and it does not matter which lives he destroys."
Astorino said Tuesday that Cuomo has "been above the law" throughout his three-term tenure, and blasted his handling of the COVID nursing home scandal.