Via America’s Lawyer: Former media darling Andrew Cuomo is being urged by Democrats to resign after half a dozen women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations. RT correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to bring us the latest. Plus, the FDA is again resorting to damage control, now warning the public about Xeljanz, a rheumatoid arthritis drug approved in 2012 that’s been linked to heart disease and cancer. Attorney Sara Papantonio joins Mike Papantonio to explain the dangerous results from recent safety trials.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: New York governor Andrew Cuomo is facing calls to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct. The scandal comes on the heels of another misstep by Cuomo, the administrations involved coverup of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes, along with all the other allegations coming out right now. Brigida Santos joins me to talk about it. Brigida, this is such a classic story. You see it develop, you see, always see it develop, you know, out of tribalism, you know, whether it’s the Republicans trying to make a hero out of a zero with their folks or the Democrats trying to create a hero where there is none. That’s what happened here. Didn’t it? I mean, you had Hollywood just gushing over Andrew Cuomo, what a wonderful guy, he’s, run him for president. Don’t you remember all these boneheads on TV doing that? And the Republicans do the same thing. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s almost, it’s almost black comedy to me. How many women have accused the governor of sexual harassment at this point, Brigida?
Brigida Santos: Well, so far, at least six women have accused governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct, including unwanted physical advances, harassment and bullying. New York attorney general Letitia James has now appointed two lawyers to lead an independent investigation into the allegations and as part of that investigation this week, former staffer Charlotte Bennett, told investigators that the governor acted inappropriately toward her on multiple occasions and created a sexually hostile work environment at his offices in Manhattan and Albany. She also accuses his senior staff of creating a culture of fear, abuse and secrecy, and says that investigators should also focus on that aspect. Now, the allegations against the governor by various women range from groping to inviting them to play strip poker and asking them questions about sleeping with an older man. And of course, as you said, the media has really hyped up Cuomo to be the anti-Trump and in the end, it turns out that he might be just like Trump.
Mike Papantonio: I mean, they look like idiots. I mean, you got, I mean the whole Hollywood thing really gets me. And then this list of people who are now turning against him, half of this list were his cheerleaders. They were, there was hero worship. It was, he is a Democrat. He is who we stand for. We see the Republicans do the same thing. It is almost sick, laughable material as you have to watch it play itself out, but now it’s playing itself out. How has the Democratic establishment responded to the allegations? I can imagine, but tell me anyway.
Brigida Santos: Yeah. Well, more than 50 Democratic state lawmakers are now calling for governor Cuomo to resign. President Biden has also said that the governor should resign if those allegations turn out to be true. The New York assembly speaker has also now authorized an impeachment investigation into the sexual harassment allegations. If articles of impeachment are introduced, the state assembly has legal authority under new York’s constitution to impeach the governor with a simple majority vote. And if he’s impeached, Cuomo will have to step aside and allow the state’s Lieutenant governor to act in his place until the impeachment trial is over. The trial would be held by the Senate’s state Senate and the seven judges of New York’s court of appeals, but to convict and remove Cuomo from office, a two thirds majority vote is necessary. This sounds familiar and of course, that is unlikely with the current political makeup of New York’s legislature. This is a long shot, but even without a conviction, an impeachment charge could still hurt Cuomo’s political career.
Mike Papantonio: Oh, he, the guy needs to be impeached. Look, this is not the first rodeo for Cuomo. He has this reputation as being a disgusting bully. Anybody who disagrees with him, he’s going to get rid of them. He’s going to ruin their career. He’s gonna, you know, cause them all type of harassment. This guy is a thug and to, the idea that we created this hero, we’re going to run him for president because why? Well, I don’t know why, because somebody jumps on the train. The Cuomo administration is also under investigations for its COVID handling, the nursing home lies, where he lied about 10,000 deaths. Tried to make it look like the deaths didn’t take place. Tell us about that.
Brigida Santos: Yeah. Governor Cuomo’s office has also been accused of deliberately withholding data about COVID-19 nursing home deaths from the public and from state lawmakers, and also of under-reporting fatalities by as high as 50%. That’s according to a report by the New York attorney general. In addition to facing those state investigations into alleged sexual misconduct, Cuomo is now also facing a federal inquiry into whether his Coronavirus taskforce purposely manipulated data about COVID-19 deaths in those long-term care facilities. So this guy is mired in scandals.
Mike Papantonio: And we’re, during this whole time, we’re going, oh, this is the smartest guy, nobody’s dying. But what, what he was doing is he was sending them home. They send them home from the, from the facility. Then they go to their house and die and they don’t count that as a nursing home death. Send them to the hospital and they die and they don’t count that as a nursing home death. This is, this is such a classic story. We’ve seen it so many times with both political parties, because we just can’t help ourselves about hero creation, where there is no hero. Thank you for joining me, Brigida. Appreciate it.
Brigida Santos: Anytime, Mike.
Mike Papantonio: The FDA is again resorting to damage control, now warning the public about another cancer causing drug, that’s been on the market, oh, by the way, since 2012. Well, we’re seeing dangerous results from safety trials, yet the drug still hasn’t been pulled from the pharmacies. It’s still on the market. It’s classic FDA. Joining me to talk about this is Sara Papantonio, Sara you’re handling this case. Tell us about Xeljanz. Lay the 10,000 foot out for us.
Sara Papantonio: Right. Xeljanz is a drug that suppresses the immune system. What it’s used to, is it’s used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. And what we found is that the drug has been on the market since 2012. For years, we’ve known that it has been related to severe cardiac arrest, major heart conditions, pulmonary embolisms, blood clots. That’s no question. In fact, the FDA just recently issued a black box warning on those conditions. But just a month ago, the FDA came out and said, hey, not only does it cause major cardiac events, it also causes cancer. So it’s just one thing after another with this drug that we’re seeing. It’s just a very dangerous drug that’s on the market right now.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, I’ve been following, I’ve been to trial with Pfizer more than most lawyers, all back when you were in grade school, you know, and, and the truth is, it’s always the same MO. And what you see is their influence with the FDA that’s become totally dysfunctional. It’s just a revolving door. Work with the FDA, they go to Mary with the FDA. You know, Mary you’re only making $150,000 start with us and we’ll pay you $700,000 or something ridiculous. It’s the influence and that’s, that’s, clearly I can, when we, when we take the depositions in this case, I promise you, that’s what we’re going to find is some influence there. But they finally got around to the black box. What’s important about the black box? The FDA said, you got to have a black box. They didn’t do it willingly, Pfizer didn’t do it willingly.
Sara Papantonio: It’s really important that we do talk about this black box warning because oftentimes consumers don’t understand what that little black box on the drug means. What it means without question is this drug is dangerous. If a consumer, if you’re, if you’re going to buy a drug and you see a black box warning on it, it means that is the last step the FDA will take until they rip that drug off the market. So turn the other way, do not take that drug if it has a black box warning on it, because it is seconds, months, you know, very quickly probably going to be taken off the market.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Okay. So you have the FDA, they’ve known all this bad stuff. I mean, they knew about the cardiac events. They knew about DVTs and blood clots, my God, the list is endless. They knew about congestive heart failure related to it. But they say, oh, all you gotta do is put a black box on there. First of all, this isn’t even a product that’s needed. This is like a, this is like a me too product. There are plenty of products that do the same thing here. Right?
Sara Papantonio: Absolutely. There’s tons of products on the market that can be used to treat many different of arthritis and so my advice to consumers is to avoid this one, because it has been linked to so many problems. You know, we, we’ve been talking about the, the heart complications for years, but now on top of all that it’s cancer. Understand that this is a drug that suppresses the immune system. It opens the flood gates for people to develop cancer left and right and so it is just truly a dangerous drug that needs to be taken off the market.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. It’s a class drug. Let’s talk about the class, it’s called, I think it’s JAK, JAK. And what it does is it suppresses the immune system, as you say, and the other, the other things related, related to it are, look, you know what else they’re doing with this drug that we see Pfizer and other drug companies do, this drug wasn’t developed for treatment of ulcerative colitis. But they said, hey, we can make extra money by not only treating arthritis. We can also go and we can sell it for something totally, it’s called off-label, we can sell it for off-label ulcerative colitis. And so all of a sudden, this is a cash cow. These people are going to fight as long as they can to keep it on the market. You agree?
Sara Papantonio: Absolutely. They’re going to expand every and all opportunities to get this drug on the market, to get it to patients. And that’s like, we’ve seen with this ulcerative colitis, they are expanding the use of this drug to try to make more money. Now, this is, this drug has already made, it makes about a million dollars each year. Since it’s been on the market, it’s made about $7 million, but that’s not enough for Pfizer. No, they have to expand it. They have to make more money. They have to hurt more people in the long run.
Mike Papantonio: But then there’s Zantac, this is another Pfizer product. You know, the deal on that, pulled off the market. Testosterone products pulled off the market because they were so dangerous. Pradaxa and Xarelto. I mean, at what point does the FDA, we’re dealing with a serial offender here. What do you think?
Sara Papantonio: Absolutely. I mean, Pfizer is the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world and look at the track record they have. It’s one drug after another being pulled off the market because it’s hurting people, it’s killing people. It is an incredibly dangerous drug. At some point, we have to take a step back and say, what, what good is this company doing? You know, what is this, what are safety precautions?
Mike Papantonio: Well, we got a, we got a vaccine.
Sara Papantonio: We got the vaccine.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. Sara Papantonio, thank you for joining me. Okay.