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She went from goner – to the governor!

Top aides of defaming the former government. Andrew Cuomo told the then Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a phone call that she would be out on the ticket in 2022 as Cuomo planned for a fourth term – before her political career was undone by an epic sexual assault scandal.

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Cuomo had already attempted to dump Hochul once because he believed the veteran Western New York politician in 2018 could not shore up his standing with the left-wing Democrats who gained influence in New York City politics. Was doing.

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“It was like their mindset in 2018, they were thinking “we have progressive issues, we need someone who ties with the minority community, but who cares,” said a person familiar with the exchange. .

“There was no connection,” said the person, between Cuomo and Hochul.

It came as part of a long-standing effort by the governor and his allies to keep Buffalo-area Democrats out of the spotlight.

“There was a concerted effort to sideline him as much as possible,” said a former Cuomo insider, who said the governor’s aides did little to shore up Hochul and lower his profile as much as possible. It hurt. “That was true before and during the pandemic.”

A third source familiar with Cuomo’s thinking said there were “concerns about diversity on the ticket.”

“We wanted to make sure that going forward the ticket more accurately reflects the diversity of the state,” the source said.

Hochul got the call in late January, three sources confirmed to The Post.

It came just days before Attorney General Letitia James released her scathing report on the then-governor’s handling of data about nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic.

James’ investigation revealed that the select tally issued by Cuomo’s health department likely reduced the death toll by nearly 50 percent, the first in a series of dominoes that would fall, leaving him politically crippled. will be damaged.

Angry lawmakers hold a closed-door meeting where former top aide Melissa DeRosa was caught on tape to convince Cuomo’s top aides Admitting Cuomo administration “froze” on releasing the data.

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That recording was obtained by The Post, which highlighted the attempted coverup.

That, in turn, caught the interest of federal investigators in Brooklyn, who are probing allegations that the Cuomo administration misled federal officials in Washington.

It also confirmed long-standing complaints from the press and good government groups that Cuomo and his allies were violating the state’s freedom of information law.

As the nursing home mess came into the public eye, two other scandals broke out, jeopardizing her three-term hold on the governor’s office.

Cuomo faced allegations that he misused state resources for his pandemic memoir, which he was paid $5 million to write—and that his staff manipulated the report to understate the death toll because they scored massive advances.

On top of that, nearly a dozen women — including many current and former state employees — came forward with allegations that Cuomo either sexually assaulted or groped her, the allegations confirmed by a state attorney general’s report.

The trio of scandals forced Cuomo’s Democratic allies in the state assembly to move forward with impeachment proceedings, which he had initially vowed to fight before resigning in August.

Hochul’s office declined repeated requests for comment, as did Cuomo’s spokesman.