Mob Justice May Be Poetic Justice, But Cuomo Deserves Due Process

Below is my column in The Hill on the struggles of many in Washington in the worsening scandal surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo. We now have a second former aide alleging sexual harassment and Cuomo has denied the allegation. He is taking heat for saying that he was just being “playful” on such occasions. While the media is beginning to cover the scandal, it is nothing like the saturated coverage of the Kavanaugh controversy or the past Trump allegations. Indeed, Sen. Gillibrand and many of the Democrats who proclaimed Kavanaugh’s guilty are now insisting that both sides being heard. Others are far more measured on this scandal. For example, when CNN’s Dana Bash (who confused her colleague Chris Cuomo with his brother) asked Jennifer Psaki about the new allegations against Cuomo, Psaki called for both sides to be heard. That measured response is in stark contrast to her attack on Sen. Collins as a “fake feminist” and “coward” in voting to confirm Kavanaugh. We saw a similar contrast when then-candidate Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault, though some like Rep. Omar said he was probably a rapist but they would vote for him anyway.  This should not be difficult. These leaders are right to call for fair and due process, even belatedly.

Here is the column:

In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before at Northwestern University Law School to announce President Obama’s “kill list” policy, under which he reserved the right to unilaterally order the death of any American deemed an imminent threat. After all, Holder explained, “the Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” The response was as chilling as the message: The audience of judges, lawyers and law students applauded an attorney general who just told them that any of them could be killed tomorrow on the president’s order.

Some of us denounced the “kill list” policy, which foreshadowed what has become a campaign against due process. In our hair-triggered culture of Twitter attacks and “canceling” opponents, due process is treated as hopelessly arcane and inconvenient. Our political discourse must now be tweet-worthy — less than 280 words — and delivered in a news cycle measured in minutes.

Due process, like free speech, is rarely valued until its loss becomes personal. Take Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.). Cuomo advanced his political career by positioning himself at the front of every mob pursuing political rivals, as during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. Before hearing the defense of now-Justice Kavanaugh, Cuomo described the allegations against him by Christine Blasey Ford as presumptively true. He not only effectively called Kavanaugh a rapist, without any due process, but demanded that Kavanaugh take a polygraph as a condition to be believed.

Cuomo was not alone. Many Democratic leaders insisted that “women must be believed” when raising sexual harassment allegations and declared Kavanaugh guilty before hearing any testimony. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) dismissed due process concerns for Kavanaugh, adding: “When we talk about … due process and justice, it must focus on the victim.” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said Kavanaugh was not entitled to a presumption of innocence and that men should “just shut up” and accept the allegations.

Last year, when Lindsey Boylan’s allegations went public, I wrote a column asking if Cuomo would presume himself guilty, absent a polygraph. Now, after Boylan added details of Cuomo’s alleged kissing and propositioning her, many are struggling with his (and their) prior positions against due process. While CNN, MSNBC and other networks blacked-out the story or barely covered it, others — including many on the right — have declared Cuomo to be guilty and dangerous.

Cuomo deserves due process, despite loudly denying it for others. Simply because Boylan made the allegations is not proof of guilt. Both sides have a right to be heard — not a right to be believed solely on their word. Due process allows us to determine who is a victim — not, as AOC suggested, to vindicate one party as the declared victim.

The Biden administration, however, is expected to build on President Obama’s anti-due process policies. During the Obama administration, universities were pressured, on threat of losing federal funding, to strip students of due process protections in cases of alleged sexual assault or harassment. Schools like Harvard initially resisted in court but quickly caved. On many campuses today, due process is often dismissed as a virtual claim of privilege or a tactic to delay racial justice.

Take the recent controversy at Smith College in Massachusetts. In 2018, Smith College and its president, Kathleen McCartney, spun into a frenzy after a student, Oumou Kanoute, accused the school of racism in an incident with a security officer and a lunch worker. Kanoute tweeted how a security guard was called to interrogate her for simply having lunch: “All I did was be black. It’s outrageous that some people questioned my being at Smith College and my existence overall as a woman of color.” Some media outlets ran the allegation without seriously questioning the underlying facts. As discussed in a recent New York Times piece, an intensive investigation disproved Kanoute’s allegations.

However, McCartney did not wait for an investigation; she suspended the janitor who called campus security, and ordered campus-wide training to deal with systemic racism. Kanoute reportedly published the names of the employees and one of their images, including one who was not even involved in the incident. All of the workers left Smith and were hounded as presumptive racists. After the investigation cleared them and found no racial bias, McCartney did not apologize and declared: “I suspect many of you will conclude, as did I, it is impossible to rule out the potential role of implicit racial bias..

Even the ACLU lawyer representing Kanoute dismissed any cost to these workers from being publicly humiliated without due process. Rahsaan Hall, racial justice director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said: “It’s troubling that people are more offended by being called racist than by the actual racism in our society. Allegations of being racist … is not on par with the consequences of actual racism.” In other words, the Smith employees were not entitled to due process because they weren’t victims. The person who made the false allegation was the victim.

The Smith case is not unique. Lack of due process has long been a scourge on campuses, leading to a long list of real victims. In 2006, Duke University lacrosse players were accused of gang-rape; the university and the media treated them as guilty and dangerous, despite glaring problems with the account of the accuser (who was later convicted of second-degree murder).

In the 1968 movie “Green Berets,” John Wayne’s character, Col. Mike Kirby, says that “out here, due process is a bullet.” In today’s politics, due process has been reduced more to a bullet point. For too many pundits and politicians, the question of guilt is reduced to how the conclusion reinforces their own identity or agenda. Every accused, every victim, is a vehicle to amplify a message and that message just be delivered immediately and vehemently..

Of course, as Gov. Cuomo has learned, one can lead a mob one day only to be pursued by the mob on the next. It would be easy to leave him to the mob and call it poetic justice, but that is not justice of any kind. Cuomo should receive all of the due process he denied to others — not because he deserves it, but because he embodies the costs of ignoring it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

216 thoughts on “Mob Justice May Be Poetic Justice, But Cuomo Deserves Due Process”

  1. Why should he deserve due process when I didn’t deserve due process. I got mob rule. Now I am heading into the US Supreme Court with no lawyer. Fairness in this country does not exist. I understand your position about due process I felt the same. Commonwealth of PA v. Denise Kelly . I made it through to the US Supreme Court. But Im stuck. I have no legal training

  2. Cuomo released Covid to the nursing homes despite what some of our anonymous people might say. Now Biden seems to be releasing Covid positive illegal immigrants into the US. In the meantime he wishes to punish Americans for being Americans and not from a third world nation.
    108 Illegal Immigrants Released by Border Patrol in Texas Tested Positive for COVID-19: Officials

    …“It is not a crisis yet, but it will become a crisis,” Cuellar warned. “The numbers have been increasing, and as your report just said a few minutes ago, the numbers are just increasing every day. The number of unaccompanied kids, the number of families who are coming in are just increasing every day.

  3. FBI Counterterrorism Official: No Firearms Recovered During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

    An FBI official on Wednesday testified at a Senate hearing that she has no knowledge of any guns being recovered from suspects who were arrested during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

    When asked by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) about whether firearms were recovered or if any suspect was charged with firearms offenses, FBI counterterrorism official Jill Sanborn responded: “To my knowledge, none.”

    “I believe that the only shots that were fired were the ones that resulted in the death of the lady,” Sanborn also testified, referring to the officer-involved shooting of Ashli Babbit.

    … Officer Brian Sicknick died either during or after the melee, but officials have not released his cause of death—while his mother told the Daily Mail last week that she believes he died of a stroke and wasn’t beaten to death by a fire extinguisher, as some reports suggested.

    …“I would say, if it’s properly termed an ‘armed insurrection,’ it was a pretty ragtag one,” Johnson remarked in his interview with the New York Times last week. “This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me. When you hear the word ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask: How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired?” he also said.


  4. Yep. He absolutely deserves due process, but we also deserve that all the evidence be presented. ALL of the evidence.

  5. Bad parenting? I’ve got 25 y ears on him and I distinctly remember within my own peer and age group learning it was not really ok to refer to one of the girls as Little heifer no matter how good the cowboy imitation. For the record i had a horse and we raised some beef . And this big city ‘boy’ He went to Fordham and law school? Andn learned what? How to be a good Clinton?

    1. When he ran for state attorney general, he was compelled in a Democratic primary debate to admit that he’d only been a working lawyer for 18 months (in a public prosecutor’s office). His father was in private practice for 16 years before he landed a position in the Carey Administration in New York.

  6. the socialists now in power only recognize their system. If they are socialists like Cuomo they are innocent. If they are anything else they are guilty. It’s not like they live in a constitutional republic system in their world. to them it’s all seig heiling and serving the party.

    1. Democrats aren’t socialists.

      A number of Democrats have called on Cuomo to resign.

      1. “A number of Democrats have called on Cuomo to resign.”

        That was a recent change by Democrats and you. Up till recently you were applauding Cuomo for his Emmy.

        “Democrats aren’t socialists.”

        Last time we went through the isms you didn’t know one from the other.

        1. “Up till recently you were applauding Cuomo for his Emmy.”

          You’re a pathological liar Allan.

          1. We all know how you protected NYS over Florida, Cuomo over de Santis and how you acted when Cuomo won the Emmy. You can call me a liar all you wish but it doesn’t change the facts.

            I even have a name and you do not. That makes you a lot less credible.

            1. I said nothing when Cuomo won an Emmy, and you’re a pathological liar to pretend otherwise.

              I choose to post anonymously. If you can’t deal with it honestly, that’s your problem, not mine.

              1. Emmy? Clapping? Applauding? All directed at you and you state you said nothing? Absolutely nothing? Your support for Cuomo was non ending yet you said nothing on this issue? What is it about you that says all sorts of things whether true or not, but remains silent at a time like that? Did you ever deny it when it was first brought up at the time of the Emmy? Never? You always talk so much and correct every wrong said about you but you didn’t deny this immediately?

                This is what happens with your type of dishonesty, trolling and anonymous alias. No one can ever know when what you are saying is the truth. You are not credible. No one can say if you were the one to do what you claim wasn’t done. After all you are anonymous and that icon is open to all visitors. You have only yourself to blame. You have to live with a perception because by being anonymous you don’t really exist. If you don’t protect your identity choosing to spend the time insulting others your credibility disappears and you are left where you are right now.

                1. Again, Allan, I said nothing when Cuomo won an Emmy.

                  You choose to believe things about me that aren’t true.

                  “Your support for Cuomo was non ending”

                  That’s false too. Multiple people post anonymously. You are either confusing me with someone else (easy to do) or inventing things out of thin air.

                  “This is what happens with your type of dishonesty, trolling and anonymous alias.”

                  No, Allan, this is what happens when you dishonestly pretend that you’re capable of distinguishing among multiple people who post anonymously. You choose to pretend that your guesses are facts. That’s about you, not me.

                  You are obsessed with responding to anonymous commenters. You regularly reply with false accusations and insults. Grow up.

                  1. >>“Your support for Cuomo was non ending”
                    >That’s false too. Multiple people post anonymously. You are either confusing me with someone else (easy to do) or inventing things out of thin air.

                    We should believe you who posts anonymously? Preposterous!

                    Common sense tells us that you are exactly the anonymous I was talking about when I made my comments about Cuomo and his supporters.

                    You had plenty of time, when it occurred, to make such denials, but you didn’t. Why? Because your support of Cuomo was true. Of course your support for all things having to do with the Russia hoax and other things was true as well but now you utilize your sneaky ways to say… NOT ME…SOMEONE ELSE SAID IT.

                    Live with Cuomo and live with all your other errors and lies. We all know who you are. Even those that support your politics know who you are so stop running away. Embrace the Cuomo Emmy. That embrace is yours for life.

                    1. The anonymous troll wishes to be believed. That is something to laugh at.

                      Troll go listen to reruns of Cuomo getting his Emmy for killing seniors.

  7. Didn’t the Salem Witch Trials begin with false allegations by teenagers? The result was they tortured innocent people (to death), placing the burden of proof on the accused instead of the accuser. Most Americans consider this barbaric and 180 degrees contrary to the American model of justice. Why is it okay today?

    1. “Americans consider this barbaric and 180 degrees contrary to the American model of justice. Why is it okay today?”
      Who wants to burn Andy at the stake or dunk him in the Hudson? They just want the perv out of office. It’s been corroborated, ya know. Unlike with Kavanaugh.

    2. Politicians have to convince voters they are fit for office not the other way around. Due process is for legal proceedings and even then, dp protections depend on whether its civil or criminal. Voters aren’t obliged to presume Cuomo innocent of anything. Laughable a law professor would claim otherwise.

  8. my personal opinion is this entire “rapey” saga is a staged crisis so the media focuses LESS attention on the murders of 40,000 seniors at Cuomo’s direction.

    in this way, cuomo can cling to a defense similar to assange: “This is all harassment you see, can’t you see…first it was killing the old folks and now its raping the staff…”

    keep in mind this is NYC and one of the most corrupt and incompetent and ridiculously stupid governors in the history of the city…with real trouble in the air over some demonstrably provable actions that led to the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of people…ehhh…maybe throwing a bit of fake rape in the mix to create ANOTHER deflection.

    we all KNOW he is on his way out…that’s clear as day…the exit strategy is clearly to defend and frame this as some kind of frameup.

    watch for it.

    I think that eventually this is all going to catch up to him…but it’s not going to be some claims of sexual harassment.

    noting: the former SNL comedian wasn’t really ejected from the game because of bad behavior either…if you really paid attention.

    noting: when it was all said and done, stormey daniels was just a farcical claim to smear a very unpopular sexual tyrannosaurus….it was always about getting his taxes and business books….

    what do these things have in common: ultimately people who are unpopular are torn apart in the media…it will be the same for Cuomo…But I have a huge amount of skepticsim about these claims. It’s almost NEVER about some harassment from years ago…he probably pissed off too many people that he owed favors towards…

    hit the bricks cuomo….and remember this lesson: if you are corrupt, you really have to be good at it in order to survive…even then, it’s no guarantee you’ll get gutted.

    1. Remember Gov. Northam of Virginia? He rode it out and he’s still Governor Blackface of Virginia. Or Gov. Klan hood of Virginia, we still don’t know. But you’re right, the Nursing Home Genocide is what should take down Cuomo, not this crap.

  9. ‘Sexual harassment charges give Dems and their media a convenient way to get rid of Cuomo without admitting they were wrong to cover up his coronavirus killing spree.’
    ~John Hayward

    1. why????
      tweet-worthy — less than 280 words — and delivered in a news cycle measured????
      Simple solution — don’t use the service. I NEVER used any Twitter or or any fFacebook.
      The problems with these “Social” platforms is that they expect slavish agreement.
      Remember what happened with Parler who dared the bi-tiumvirate of twit brigade.

      Cast off your chains and be free! I didn’t need anyone’s help to find this blog. Or permissions to post.

  10. The Supreme Court has rejected two mandamus petitions from Sidney Powell and other “Kraken”-aligned lawyers without further comment.

  11. Let’s get the list started of prominent Dims who aren’t cads or pervs:

    Joe Biden … No
    Andrew Cuomo … No
    Jeffrey Epstein … No
    Harvey Weinstein … No
    Real estate developer Terry Bean … No
    Bill Clinton … No
    Al Franken … No
    John “Underwear” Conyers … No
    Kevin Spacey notorious FOB … No

    Well, maybe you know some

  12. Cuomo is getting his, when will Kamala Harris get hers?

    In the wake of last Summer’s devastating riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Hollywood celebrities and left-wing politicians led by Kamala Harris joined forces to bail out violent criminals who committed arson, looting and other felonies. But apparently there were not enough such criminals to go around–not enough who got arrested, anyway–so the Hollywood/D.C. leftists bailed out everyone in sight. Along with other victims, one or more Minnesota women have now suffered kidnapping and assault as a result of Kamala Harris’s largesse: Continued

    1. OMG! Did you say Kamala Harris?


      Kamala Harris will NEVER be eligible to be U.S. president.

      Kamala Harris’ parents were foreign citizens at the time of her birth.

      – A mere “citizen” could only have been President at the time of the adoption of the Constitution – not after.

      – The U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5, requires the President to be a “natural born citizen,” which, by definition in the Law of Nations, requires “parents who are citizens” at the time of birth of the candidate and that he be “…born of a father who is a citizen;…”

      – Ben Franklin thanked Charles Dumas for copies of the Law of Nations which “…has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting,…”

      – “The importance of The Law of Nations, therefore, resides both in its systematic derivation of international law from natural
      law and in its compelling synthesis of the modern discourse of natural jurisprudence with the even newer language of political
      economy. The features help to explain the continuing appeal of this text well into the nineteenth century among politicians,
      international lawyers and political theorists of every complexion,” Law of Nations Editors Bela Kapossy and Richard Whatmore.

      – The Jay/Washington letter of July, 1787, raised the presidential requirement from citizen to “natural born citizen” to place a “strong check” against foreign allegiances by the commander-in-chief.

      – Every American President before Obama had two parents who were American citizens.

      – The Constitution is not a dictionary and does not define words or phrases like “natural born citizen” as a dictionary, while the Law of Nations, 1758, did.


      Law of Nations, Vattel, 1758

      Book 1, Ch. 19

      § 212. Citizens and natives.

      “The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”


      Ben Franklin letter December 9, 1775, thanking Charles Dumas for 3 copies of the Law of Nations:

      “…I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…”


      To George Washington from John Jay, 25 July 1787

      From John Jay

      New York 25 July 1787

      Dear Sir

      I was this morning honored with your Excellency’s Favor of the 22d

      Inst: & immediately delivered the Letter it enclosed to Commodore

      Jones, who being detained by Business, did not go in the french Packet,

      which sailed Yesterday.

      Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to

      provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the

      administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief

      of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolved on, any but a natural born Citizen.

      Mrs Jay is obliged by your attention, and assures You of her perfect

      Esteem & Regard—with similar Sentiments the most cordial and sincere

      I remain Dear Sir Your faithful Friend & Servt

      John Jay

  13. Deserves? When he didn’t give it to others? If he were an otherwise stand-up guy, I’d be in his corner against the rule of mob justice. But I don’t defend hypocrites who used the #metoo movement to fundraise and blabbed on about ‘listen and believe’ when it was women accusing political opponents but now suddenly has seen the Light of Jesus!

  14. I don’t care for Turley anymore than I do any other LEFT WING RADICAL! He may actually CITE the law every now and then but his rhetoric immediately exposes his leftist view of how that law should apply and to WHOM- mostly Republicans! He’s as big a hypocrite as the rest but not as INSANE! Ok now on to Coo Coo Mo – yes he’s GUILTY! Just LOOK at him – he’s obviously a MALE so per democrat rules – HE’S GUILTY! I’m hoping one of the three that HAVE come forward or one of the other ten or so on deck will share some insights on his “odd” shaped nipples – amazingly they look like little barbells are stuck through them!

  15. Turley: “While CNN, MSNBC and other networks blacked-out the story or barely covered it, others — including many on the right — have declared Cuomo to be guilty and dangerous.”

    Ever notice how Turley never mentions his employer “Fox News” by name but never misses a chance to vilify Fox’s media competitors? I don’t disagree with Turley’s take on matters by and large, but I don’t respect his obvious hypocrisy and his shielding Fox by name from criticism. He has yet to comment on the defamation lawsuit against Fox and his Fox colleagues. Nor has he explained his defeating silence…

  16. Crack addiction has worked to provide cover for Hunter Biden’s depravity with the “Woke” crowd..

    So Mario should start smoking lots of crack, then have sex with a child that’s related to him, and then the fat chick AG who eats way too many corn chips, can give him a pass.

  17. When our “Justice System” is applied equally then we can talk about Due Process. Like everyone in the Elite class, Cuomo will enjoy special treatment by the courts. And if this corruption continues Mob Justice, aka Vigilantism, will take over and the same people will be left with ashes. I wonder why they are trying to take away our guns? Hmm…

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