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NY Attorney General Letitia James confirms Cuomo sexual harassment probe


New York State Attorney General Letitia James has promised to make public the findings of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo.  

Two former aides have accused Cuomo of making inappropriate remarks to them and one says he forcibly kissed her. He tried to play down the claims in a statement on Sunday, apologizing to the women but insisting they misinterpreted what he considers to be joking.

At first, he wanted to run his own investigation into the allegations but James shot it down, insisting that his office refer it to her.

On Monday, his office completed the referral process and she is now legally able to appoint a third party to investigate it. 

In a statement on Monday afternoon, she said: ‘Today, the executive chamber transmitted a referral letter to our office, providing us the authority to move forward with an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment claims made against Governor Cuomo.

‘This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously. 

NY State Attorney General Letitia James said she would release the findings of the investigation once it was complete  

‘As the letter states, at the close of the review, the findings will be disclosed in a public report.’ 

Cuomo has now hired white-collar defense lawyer Elkan Abramowitz to help him through the sexual harassment probe and through a separate investigation into his administration’s alleged cover-up of the true number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19. 

Cuomo has now hired white-collar defense lawyer Elkan Abramowitz to help him through the sexual harassment probe and through a separate investigation into his administration's alleged cover-up of the true number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19

Cuomo has now hired white-collar defense lawyer Elkan Abramowitz to help him through the sexual harassment probe and through a separate investigation into his administration’s alleged cover-up of the true number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19

Ambramowitz confirmed that he’d been brought on to The Wall Street Journal on Monday. 

Charlotte Bennett, 25, has claimed that Cuomo had asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she ever had sex with older men, when she was working for him last June. 

Cuomo responded to Bennett’s allegations, which were first made public on Saturday, saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate.

‘The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported,’ he said of Bennett, who had worked as a health policy adviser in Cuomo’s administration until last November. Cuomo said he had only intended to be a mentor for Bennett.

Bennett on Monday issued a statement to the New York Times in which she accused the Democratic governor of refusing to take responsibility for his behavior and wielding his power to avoid justice.

‘As we know, abusers – particularly those with tremendous amounts of power – are often repeat offenders who engage in manipulative tactics to diminish allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape consequences,’ Bennett said in her first statement since her accusations were made public.

‘It took the governor 24 hours and significant backlash to allow for a truly independent investigation.

‘These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood; they are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice.’

Separately, her attorney Debra S. Katz said: ‘He was not acting as a mentor and his remarks were not misunderstood by Ms Bennett.

‘He was abusing his power over her for sex. This is textbook sexual harassment.’

Charlotte Bennett told the New York Times the governor asked her questions about her sex life, whether she had monogamous relationships and if she ever had sex with older men – all during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic

Lindsey Boylan elaborated on accusations she first made in December, saying Cuomo had subjected her to an unwanted kiss and made inappropriate comments about her appearance

Charlotte Bennett (left) told the New York Times the governor asked her questions about her sex life, whether she had monogamous relationships and if she ever had sex with older men – all during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lindsey Boylan (right) elaborated on accusations she first made in December, saying Cuomo had subjected her to an unwanted kiss and made inappropriate comments about her appearance

Cuomo has now been described as a pariah by political donors.

Far from the pandemic hero he became last April, when some said he offered the leadership that the country was lacking, now no one wants to stand behind him while the issues of the nursing homes and the sexual harassment claims linger, one source said.

‘No one is giving to him now. Everything is on hold,’ a finance executive told CNBC on Monday.

‘I think people who like him and have been with him for a long time are scratching their heads asking, how did he put himself in that position. 

‘Unless he comes forward and faces it completely and openly and honestly, he doesn’t deserve a fourth term, even though I like him immensely,’ Bernard Schwartz, a New York businessman who has supported Cuomo for years, added. 

Earlier on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was ‘sickened’ by the allegations and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called them ‘credible’. 

De Blasio was particularly angry that Cuomo had tried to play down the allegations by saying the women misinterpreted a joke of his. 

‘That’s not an apology. He seemed to be saying I was just kidding around. Sexual harassment’s just not funny. It’s serious. It has to be taken seriously.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said Gov. Cuomo's apology was 'not an apology' and that he'd tried to reduce the women's 'terrifying' claims by claiming he was joking

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said Gov. Cuomo's apology was 'not an apology' and that he'd tried to reduce the women's 'terrifying' claims by claiming he was joking

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said Gov. Cuomo’s apology was ‘not an apology’ and that he’d tried to reduce the women’s ‘terrifying’ claims by claiming he was joking

‘Clearly he was just letting himself off the hook for something that for the women involved, sounded pretty terrifying. We need a full investigation. We need the whole truth of what happened.’

He then went on: ‘We need to make sure it never happens again and we need to look at the nursing home issue.

‘We cannot just look at one or the other – we need a full investigation into the nursing home issue, where thousands of people died. Information was covered up on purpose.

‘And we still don’t know if our seniors are safe, our elders.

‘We have not got a full accounting of the facts. Both these issues need to be looked in to.’

Asked if Cuomo should resign over the claims, de Blasio said: ‘What we can say here is we’ve got two women who worked for him…

‘Anything like that, if someone purposefully tried to use their power to force a woman to have sex with them?

‘Of course that’s someone who should no longer be in public service.’

De Blasio also went on New York City radio station Hot 97 to say the allegations ‘sickened him.

‘It sickened me, it sickened me.

‘The thought of a powerful man trying to take advantage of his power, intimidate a young woman and just the sense that he was treating her like — again these are allegations and we need a full investigation — but if that was what truly happened it was like he was treating her like she was his property.

‘Just disgusting, creepy.’   



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