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Cuomo campaign appeals Teachout residency ruling

Cuomo speaks at a news conference in Manhattan

Cuomo speaks at a news conference in Manhattan on June 2, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's campaign continued its effort Tuesday to disqualify underdog Democratic gubernatorial challenger Zephyr Teachout from running in next month's primary.

Attorneys for Cuomo and Teachout appeared in Brooklyn's state Appellate Courthouse Tuesday morning after Cuomo's campaign filed an appeal to last week's lower court decision that ruled Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, did meet the state's five-year residency requirement to run.

Cuomo campaign attorney Martin E. Connor argued before the court that a trail of public records -- including a Vermont driver's license and previous tax filings -- all indicate that Teachout was not a full-time resident as of 2009.

"We have a good case here, it's not a frivolous case," Connor said after the about hourlong meeting. "Everybody has to follow the law, even people who want to run for governor."

Teachout's attorney, Lawrence Mandelker, told the court's panel of four judges that while she frequently visited family in Vermont and had ties to the state, previous testimony from friends and a host of rent checks and documents proved that her primary residence has been New York City since 2009.

"She established her residency in 2009, four years before she decided to run for governor," Mandelker told the judges.

Both Mandelker and Connor said the court could reach a decision before Friday, but could not say for certain.

The Democratic primary is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Before the hearing, Teachout and Tim Wu, her running mate for lieutenant governor, held a news conference calling on Cuomo to engage in a primary debate.

"It's time to take it out of the courtroom and into a debate," Teachout said.

Teachout's long-shot campaign has been backed by a contingent of liberal Democrats at odds with Cuomo policies such as corporate tax breaks and a wage freeze for state employees.

Wu said "there's a battle going on for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party and voters want a debate."

A Cuomo campaign spokesman said the campaign had no comment.

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