TTwo men were born a decade apart in Queens, New York, one heir to a real estate fortune and the other of a political dynasty. Donald Trump went on to become president, and Andrew Como He became a ruler, like his father.
Over the course of their long and controversial careers, both men seemed untouchable. But thanks to recent work by a lifelong government employee born into a large family in Brooklyn with no inheritance of money or power, every man suddenly faces a moment of unusual accountability.
State attorney general, Letitia James, the first-ever woman of color to hold a statewide elected office in New York, has made a hole in the story of Como’s leadership of the pandemic. Report in January It turns out that the country was not reporting deaths in nursing homes by up to half.
A rapid succession of sexual harassment lawsuits against Cuomo in the following weeks pushed him out of his political position and left the question of whether he would withdraw his bid for re-election in 2022 – or even resign before his current third term expires.
Trump may be in greater danger. Since 2019, James’s office has been conducting an investigation into business practices within the Trump Foundation and his family. Analysts said Trump fought fiercely in court, but month after month, James managed to unveil financial records that seemed to add to the former president’s enormous legal risk.
George Albrow, co-chair of New York Progressive Action Network Who knew James back to when he was a union officer in New York City and she was a public attorney. “You will take this to a logical conclusion.”
The Trump case and the Como nursing home scandal have sparked an avalanche of patriotic interest for James, with people outside. New York Politics questions how a single state officer could create such big legal waves.
People who know her since her time as a public defender in New York City – when she was the first woman of color to be elected citywide – and her time as a city councilor before that nod of recognition: This is Tisch.
As the state attorney general, James vigorously sought a complete index of progressive causes.
She filed a lawsuit against the police department for brutality against people of color, prohibited illegal evictions during the pandemic, won a major sexual harassment settlement for women in the construction industry, and filed a friendly warrant with the Supreme Court opposing an expedited census, and filing a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association.
It has also filed a lawsuit against Amazon for allegedly failing to protect workers, filed a lawsuit against Facebook as an alleged monopoly, and investigated with Google on similar grounds. It has asked federal regulators to crack down on toxins in baby food and has called for student debt relief.
“I see the law as a shield and a sword at the same time.” She said In a public discussion last year about black leadership. “And so I wake up every day feeling a fire in my stomach, and run into the office – well, I’m actually approaching my kitchen – and the question is, what can I do today to make a difference in someone’s life? Who can I sue?”
James admitted to past critics who believed that she had filed too many lawsuits without sufficient effort. But she argues that “the law should be an instrument of social change” – and the pressure it put on Trump that caused the Clear stress among family membersThe impact of her efforts is evident and the public mood is enthusiastic with her.
This kind of momentum has led to speculation about what may be next for a political pioneer with impeccable popular credentials who maintains a massive stock of New York City goodwill as well as a realistic disarmament approach in and out of the campaign trail.
“Everyone’s still calling me Petech,” she told Milva M. Miller, CEO of the Census Watching Society for a Better New York, In a public forum last year. “I still have to wash my clothes later – I’m still Tish. I have to go to the grocery store – I’m still Tish.”
James, 62, one of eight children, went to Brooklyn Public School, graduated from Lyman College of the City University of New York, and obtained a law degree from Howard University, a historically Black University in Washington, DC.
She said her first memory of the legal system was seeing a court officer verbally abusing her mother at a brother’s hearing.
James told Miller, “When I looked in the courtroom, all the defendants and all the family members looked like me, but everyone in a position of strength didn’t do it, and there was something really unbalanced about that and unfair about it.”
Before being elected to the New York City Council in 2003, James served as a public defender, as an advisor to the president of the state council and as an assistant attorney general for Brooklyn, targeting predatory lenders, defending working families and bringing the first case against the New York City Police Department for so-called stop-and-search abuse.
She lost the primary race to join the city council, but was able to resume her bid while he was the incumbent He was shot dead inside the city hall. During her 10 years on the council, she has emerged as an advocate for police reform and better public housing.
She also showed her bravery in the face of powerful political figures, helping to lead the accusation against the attempt of then-mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to change city rules and seize a third term in power (battle won Bloomberg).
However, some political allies questioned whether James’s hostile stance toward the powerful would apply to Como, who paved the way for her political future by endorsing the position of attorney general.
As a candidate under the protection of Como, James insisted that she was “not prestigious and not bought” by the governor. Albrew said the results of her investigation into how the Como administration failed to report the Covid-19 nursing home deaths show that she meant these words.
He said, “She told us that she will be independent from the governor and I think she has proven that.”
Her fight against Trump has the potential to elevate James’ stature – and her prospects – even further, encouraging open speculation about whether she will succeed even the governor who helped expose his alleged misconduct. Before being elected governor, Cuomo was the state attorney general – the same job James now holds.
“I think she wants to be a governor, I think that’s clear, and she’d be a great candidate,” said Albrow.
“I think she would be a great candidate because she is so loved and known in the city and that’s a big part of the vote.”