Investigators are expected to question New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this weekend relating to sexual harassment allegations levied against him in a sign that the state’s probe may be reaching its final stages, it has been reported.
The state hired two outside lawyers, Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark, to lead the investigation into Cuomo – which is being overseen by Attorney General Letitia James, The New York Times reported.
Kim and Clark are expected to interview Cuomo, 63, in Albany on Saturday four months after investigations into him began, sources told the outlet.
Investigators were always expected to speak with Cuomo, who said at the start of the probe in March that he would ‘fully cooperate.’ Cuomo is also facing an impeachment inquiry in the state assembly.
Kim and Clark have gathered testimony from several of the women who have accused Cuomo, a Democrat who has held the office since 2011, of inappropriate touching and offensive remarks.
Investigators are expected to question New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this weekend relating to sexual harassment allegations levied against him
The state hired two outside lawyers, Joon H. Kim, left, and Anne L. Clark, right, to lead the investigation into Cuomo. Kim and Clark are expected to interview Cuomo, 63, in Albany on Saturday four months after investigations into him began
The investigation is being overseen by Attorney General Letitia James, pictured
Cuomo initially apologized and said he ‘learned an important lesson’ about his behavior around women, though he’s since denied he did anything wrong and questioned the motivations of accusers.
He has also rebuffed calls to step aside over the allegations.
‘We have said repeatedly that the governor doesn’t want to comment on this review until he has cooperated, but the continued leaks are more evidence of the transparent political motivation of the attorney general’s review,’ Cuomo senior advisor Richard Azzopardi said.
Azzopardi’s statement Thursday was the second time that Cuomo’s top spokesperson has claimed that James, also a Democrat, and her probe were politically motivated.
In April, Azzopardi blasted James for confirming that her office was also investigating whether Cuomo broke the law by having members of his staff help write and promote his recent memoir American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic.
‘Both the comptroller and the attorney general have spoken to people about running for governor and it is unethical to wield criminal referral authority to further political self-interest,’ Azzopardi said at the time.
Some of Cuomo’s top allies in the state legislature have called on the public to await the results of James’ investigation and not to undermine her integrity.
State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, said he trusts the independent investigators selected by James, and said that ‘their credibility and professionalism can’t be questioned.’
‘There was a sense from people early on that because the governor was so instrumental in helping her become AG that she would then become responsive to his political needs,’ Rivera, who chairs the state senate’s health committee said,
‘Now she’s proven over and over again that she’s responsible to the people of the state of New York.’
Sen. John Liu, Majority Assistant Whip in the state Senate, said that Azzopardi’s statement is the ‘typical Cuomo playbook.’
‘Those kinds of comments, trying to run interference, trying to deflect, trying to implicate at least politically — my read of it is that folks in the governor’s circle including the governor are at least nervous and at most running terrified,’ said Liu, a Democrat who’s called on Cuomo to resign.
‘Obviously, Cuomo’s trying to undermine the AG,’ Liu said. ‘I think because he is in a precarious situation, he’d be trying to undermine anybody who is investigating him.’
This year’s legislative session has concluded, but lawmakers could return later in the summer or fall if the probe winds up.
‘I don’t have a sense of a clear timeframe,’ Liu said. ‘I think Tish James is being as thorough as she can, knowing that no matter what she will be accused of politics. But I I think she’s conducting a thorough investigation and looking at all the facts, and I look forward to her conclusions and recommendations.’
The state assembly’s judiciary committee has launched its own probe into whether there are grounds to impeach the governor on issues from sexual misconduct to his $5 million book deal.
It’s also unclear when the Assembly probe will wrap up, but it’s likely that it won’t be before James’ investigation concludes.
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide, came out in December with allegations against him – she further detailed her experience in a February post to Medium
Charlotte Bennett, 25, accused Cuomo of propositioning her in his office last June
Alyssa McGrath said Cuomo ogled her body, called her and her co-worker ‘mingle mamas’ and asked about her lack of a wedding ring as well calling her beautiful in Italian
She also claimed Cuomo looked down her shirt to compliment her on her necklace during a meeting with him
Anna Ruch has accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior
Karen Hinton (left), a press aide, and Jessica Bakeman accused Cuomo of inappropriate actions
At least one accuser has said she only wants to speak with investigators in the attorney general’s probe rather than sit through two separate interviews.
‘The AG’s report is going to be critical,’ Liu said. ‘The attorney general’s report and recommendations will carry a great deal of weight.’
Cuomo’s first accuser, 36-year-old Lindsey Boylan, claims he kissed her and asking her to play strip poker.
‘It was all so normalized — particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him — that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was,’ Boylan wrote.
Since Boylan and Bennett made their allegations, at least six other women have made claims of inappropriate behavior by Cuomo.
Anna Ruch, the third accuser, came forward in early March and claimed Cuomo put his hands on her bare back and asked her if he could kiss her during a wedding reception in September 2019.
Fourth accuser, Ana Liss, served as a policy and operations aide to Cuomo from 2013 to 2015. She claimed that Cuomo called her ‘sweetheart’ and kissed her on the hand.
New York state Sen Alessandra Biaggi (right) branded Andrew Cuomo (right) a ‘monster’ as politicians on both sides of the aisle turn their backs on the governor after he was accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide
Biaggi, chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, led lawmakers in condemning Cuomo on Saturday
The same day that Liss came forward as an alleged victim, Karen Hinton – a former press aide for Cuomo – claimed he was physically ‘aroused’ when he allegedly hugged her more than two decades ago, becoming his fifth accuser.
The seventh accuser, Jessica Bakeman formerly worked for Politico New York and claimed Cuomo took her hand and did not let go after shaking it, and in another incident put his arm around her shoulder while telling stories to her colleagues.
Eighth accuser Alyssa McGrath, 33, said Cuomo ogled her body, called her and her co-worker ‘mingle mamas’ and asked about her lack of a wedding ring.
The governor has said he ‘never touched anyone inappropriately’ and ‘never made any inappropriate advances’ but has apologized for making anyone feel ‘uncomfortable.’
What happens if Cuomo leaves office?
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing increased calls from liberals and conservatives alike to resign amid investigations into alleged sexual harassment. Cuomo has repeatedly said he will not leave office.
If Cuomo were to resign, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would become New York’s first female governor.
Cuomo could also face impeachment if he does not resign and six Democratic socialist state senators have already issued a statement calling for impeachment proceedings against Cuomo.
If the New York State Assembly votes to impeach him by a simple majority, a trial would be held in the State Senate.
Hochul would also take office and serve out the rest of Cuomo’s term until 2023 if state lawmakers voted to remove him from office.