Cuomo adviser says his boss was ‘railroaded’ by ‘the socialist wing of the Democratic Party’ and calls the case against him ‘media manipulation 101’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Senior Advisor Rich Azzopardi arrives at the New York state Executive Mansion, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.
Cuomo Senior Advisor Rich Azzopardi.
  • As Andrew Cuomo moves out of the governor's mansion, his last allies are still defending him.
  • Rich Azzopardi wrote that his boss was "railroaded" by the "socialist wing of the Democratic Party."
  • In a briefing, Cuomo's lawyer argued the merits of patting someone's butt vs. grabbing it.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

As a U-Haul truck idles outside of the governor's mansion in Albany, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's few remaining allies have gone on offense during his closing days in office.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser and longtime Cuomo spokesman who has been filling in as communications director after a wave of staff departures, penned an op-ed in the New York Daily News defending his boss as a victim of a conspiracy.

"With respect to the impending transition of power in the state Capitol, the answer is simple: Gov. Cuomo was railroaded," Azzopardi wrote.

After claiming there were "inconsistencies" in the accounts of 11 women who came forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual misconduct ranging from workplace harassment to groping, Azzopardi got into why he believes the governor was "railroaded."

"My argument is broader. After three rough-and-tumble terms, many in the Legislature wanted the governor gone," Azzopardi wrote. "The socialist wing of the Democratic Party is the tail wagging the dog ... They couldn't beat him in an election, but they could try to bring him down through an impeachment."

While Cuomo initially requested that New York Attorney General Letitia James investigate the allegations against him through independent attorneys, he and Azzopardi gradually changed their messaging over the ensuing months to imply and then flatly accuse her of running "a cudgel, not an honest probe," as Azzopardi wrote in the Daily News.

"This was media manipulation 101: When you don't have quality, settle for quantity," Azzopardi added, referring to women who were not state employees being included as credible accusers in the 165-page report.

Not long after Azzopardi's op-ed was published on Friday, Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin held a briefing where she again attempted to poke holes in the credibility of various Cuomo accusers.

At one point in her briefing ,Glavin tried to draw a distinction between the governor patting a woman's butt as opposed to grabbing it.

Glavin cited an email an unnamed Cuomo accuser wrote herself about an encounter she had with the governor, and that she included the patting but omitted the grabbing.

"That's not true," Glavin said of the alleged grabbing. "That's not recorded in a contemporaneous email, and we would ask the attorney general to correct that record."

After ticking through similar contentions over "inconsistencies" with various women's accounts, Azzopardi ended his op-ed with a bold prediction.

"The fix was in and an election was overturned on flimsy evidence and twisted process," he wrote. "Whatever you think of Andrew Cuomo, that is a loss for values we are supposed to cherish. Also, mark my words: Tish James will be announcing a run for governor within months."

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