Andrew Cuomo hired a female state trooper to be part of his personal security detail because she made eye contact with him when they met at an event, and ‘he liked that she was assertive with him,’ his lawyer has said.
Cuomo, 63, was accused by ‘Trooper Number One’ of sexual harassment while she was working for him.
The trooper, in her 20s, officially started working on Cuomo’s security detail in January 2018.
Over the next three years, Cuomo had a series of encounters with her that she described as ‘flirtatious’ and ‘creepy,’ the report said.
They included an unwanted kiss, inappropriate touching, sexually suggestive comments and several invitations to join him ‘upstairs’ at the governor’s executive mansion, according to the report.
Andrew Cuomo is seen with state troopers in October 2016. The following year he would meet a female state trooper at an event in New York City, and request she be assigned to his security detail. She claims he then began sexually harassing her
Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin on Friday insisted that Cuomo hired the trooper because he wanted more ‘diversity’ among his protection detail
The three attorneys – Paul Fishman, Mitra Hormozi – who represent the Office of the Governor – and Rita Glavin – who represents Cuomo personally – spoke at a press conference which the Governor live streamed on his state website, but at which he didn’t appear
On Friday Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin, told a press conference that the governor had requested she be appointed to his 60-strong security detail, after meeting at an event.
Glavin said that it was because he wanted a more diverse contingent.
‘The report suggested that the governor singled her out and wanted her on the detail because of some improper motive,’ said Glavin.
‘That’s the clear suggestion, in the report.
‘And what the governor told the investigators in his testimony is that he had been complaining about the lack of diversity on his detail for some period of time.
‘He has about 60 troopers that are on the detail. There’s only a handful of women.
‘And for a governor who has hired, and has senior women at all of his top jobs, this had bothered him, for some period of time. And he voiced it.’
Glavin explained the unusual way in which she was appointed, following a ceremony at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in New York City in November 2017.
The State Police and governor’s office had insisted, in response to an inquiry by The Times-Union last year, that Cuomo had no role in the female trooper’s reassignment.
Governor Cuomo is pictured in the grounds of the Albany Governor’s Mansion on Friday. He has not been seen publicly since Monday. The report came out on Tuesday and Cuomo’s attorneys say he was ‘blindsided’ by it
Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo, 23, is seen on Friday arriving at the Governor’s Mansion, to visit her father
But on Friday, Glavin admitted that he was instrumental in her change in job.
‘He had met this trooper.
‘He thought she was impressive, in their meeting. And he said, I don’t understand – why can’t we hire someone like her? Do you know her?
What next for Andrew Cuomo?
It looks like checkmate for Andrew Cuomo as pressure grows on him to step down despite his desperate attempts to cling on to power.
Senior Democrats including President Joe Biden are pushing for Cuomo to resign, with some looking to impeach the embattled politician.
New York state assembly speaker Carl Heastie, who launched an impeachment inquiry in March, said Cuomo has ‘lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority’ and ‘can no longer remain in office’, according to CNN.
If Cuomo tries to cling on to power rather than step down, he will likely face an impeachment probe.
Impeachment would be carried out by the New York state assembly which is made up of 150 lawmakers.
Only a majority of votes is needed for impeachment for ‘misconduct of malversation’, according to the state constitution.
The assembly’s makeup is overwhelmingly Democrat, with 106 out of 150 seats, and a majority of 76 votes needed for impeachment.
If impeached, Cuomo would be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
A trial would then be held by the New York senate where Democrats hold 43 of 63 seats and a two-thirds majority is needed to convict.
If convicted, Cuomo would be removed from office, but if he is found not guilty, he could return to being governor.
An impeachment probe launched in March is still ongoing and lawmakers are meeting to decide whether to proceed or draft articles in other areas of Cuomo’s leadership relating to the nursing homes Covid scandal, cover-up allegations over the Mario Cuomo Bridge, and claims of using state resources for personal gain.
So far, Cuomo has insisted he has done nothing wrong and has made no moves to step down as he tries to cling on to power.
‘And he was told she was excellent. So why don’t we hire her.’
Asked during the press conference why Cuomo thought she was ‘impressive’, Glavin replied: ‘He liked how she maintained eye contact. He liked that she was assertive with him in the conversation.
‘And then he asked one of the troopers he knows about her, and they said: yeah, she’s excellent.
‘And he’s like, I don’t understand this – why don’t I have women on my detail?’
State Police sources told the Times Union last year that the minimum qualifications for appointment to the protective detail were reduced by one year so that the reassignment of the trooper, who joined the State Police in 2015, could be made.
Cuomo personally ordered the move, a source had told the paper, because he ‘liked the way she looked.’
Glavin said the newspaper’s reporting was not accurate.
‘The governor had said that he did not do this,’ she said.
‘I don’t know what happened, within the detail. And within the troopers, and what their internal policies are.
‘But he certainly, if he meets someone particularly within the trooper world, and he wants diversity, he wants that.’
‘It was certainly not reflected in how the investigators chose to report that.’
The trooper was unsure in 2017 whether she should accept a transfer to Cuomo’s protective detail.
The report compiled by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, and published on Tuesday includes an email from the senior investigator who facilitated her transfer with the subject line: ‘What did you say to him???’
In that same email the senior investigator informed the trooper they were interested in drafting her and said: ‘If you don’t want to go I can get you out of it. But definitely worth considering.’
The state trooper told James’ team of investigators that Cuomo had repeatedly behaved inappropriately.
During a conversation after Cuomo has split up from his long-time girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, Cuomo asked the trooper her age and she replied that she was in her late 20s.
‘You’re too old for me,’ Cuomo said, according to the report.
The conversation continued with Cuomo asking her what she thought would be an appropriate age difference between him and a romantic partner.
‘Probably older than your daughters,’ the trooper said, according to the report.
Cuomo told her that for a girlfriend, he was looking for someone who ‘can handle pain,’ the report says.
Cuomo has not been seen since Monday. On Tuesday, he released a pre-taped response to the report (above) and he is said to be hunkered down at home, strategizing how to save his political life
On another occasion, Cuomo asked the trooper, who was engaged, why she would want to get married.
‘It always ends in divorce, and you lose money, and your sex drive goes down,’ Cuomo said to her, according to the report.
The trooper, feeling uncomfortable, talked about the positive aspects of getting married, and the conversation ended soon after, the report said.
The governor constantly sought out the trooper at events and would also ask her such questions as, ‘Why don’t you wear a dress?’ according to the report.
She told how he asked several times to kiss her, once doing so on the cheek in front of her colleagues – who corroborated her account. The second time he asked, in October 2019, she told him she was sick.
Cuomo, she said, slid his hand up her spine in an elevator and said: ‘Hey, you.’
On another occasion, in September 2019, while she stood to hold the door open for him, he ran his fingers from her belly button to her hip, where she holds her gun.
‘I felt completely violated,’ she told investigators, the report said. ‘But, you know, I’m here to do a job.’
The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association released a statement expressing anger over the allegations against the governor.
‘I’m outraged and disgusted that one of my members, who was tasked with guarding the governor and ensuring his safety, could not enjoy the same sense of security in her work environment that he was provided,’ said Thomas Mungeer, NYSTPBA president.
Glavin said that Cuomo would be speaking about the state trooper’s allegations.
‘The governor will address that allegation himself, and so I will let him speak for himself, when he does,’ she said.
‘I know he wants to do it soon.’
Glavin was asked about what was being done ‘to protect her and others’ who have come forward with harassment allegations ‘against potential retaliation.’
Glavin replied: ‘The governor has a view of this particular trooper, you know, that’s positive in terms of her job and day to day.
‘With respect to what’s being done about, you know, retaliation, look, the whole world is watching right now.
‘People are not going to be retaliated against by Governor Cuomo.’