News: New York Governor Cuomo faces potential criminal charges as local prosecutors make inquiries on sexual-harassment claims

An investigation has concluded that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees, civilians, and even a state trooper on his security detail. The governor is crying foul.

Already struggling for political survival after a state investigation found that he sexually harassed 11 women, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo now faces criminal probes by district attorneys in at least four local jurisdictions.

Prosecutors in Manhattan, Westchester County and Nassau County issued statements on Wednesday indicating that they had requested materials from a state investigation into the allegations against Cuomo, so they can determine whether he committed any crimes in their areas. Albany County District Attorney David Soares, whose jurisdiction includes the state’s capital city, said late Tuesday that his office is conducting its own investigation of Cuomo and welcomes any alleged victim to contact his office.

 

The latest requests came one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that a probe by her office had concluded that the sexual harassment claims against the governor were true. Alleged victims include current and former state employees, as well as private citizens.

“We are reviewing the deeply disturbing findings of the attorney general’s report regarding the governor’s alleged conduct,” Nassau County Acting District Attorney Joyce Smith said.

Even a female state trooper was targeted by Cuomo, the state investigation found.

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The governor kissed the trooper on the cheek in front of a co-worker and asked on another occasion to kiss her again, according to the attorney general’s office. Other alleged incidents with the trooper included running his hand across her stomach, from her navel to her hip, while she held a door open for him and running his finger from the top of her neck down to the middle of her back in an elevator.

Cuomo, who also was found to have retaliated against at least one of his alleged victims, has denied any wrongdoing, saying he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

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The attorney general’s probe was civil in nature and James made no determination as to whether Cuomo had committed any crimes. Anne Clark, one of the lead investigators, told reporters that local and federal prosecutors are free to review all of the allegations included in the state report.

President Joe Biden and other Democratic Party leaders have called on Cuomo to resign. Democrat governors in four nearby states – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – issued a joint statement Tuesday night saying they were appalled by the investigative findings and that Cuomo should step down.

 

A majority of New York state lawmakers support launching impeachment proceedings against the governor if he doesn’t resign, the Associated Press reported. At least 82 members of the 150-seat New York Assembly favor impeachment if Cuomo continues refusing to quit. 

Cuomo said in March when such a party leaders as New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called for his resignation, that stepping down because of unproven allegations would be “anti-democratic.” At the time, he told reporters “let’s get the findings” of the attorney general’s investigation and “go from there.”

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Ironically, when then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had been accused of sexual harassment and assault in 2018, Cuomo said the state’s chief prosecutor should resign, “for the good of the office.”

Defiant Cuomo shares a montage of himself kissing people as the explosive report says he sexually harassed 11 women


An investigation has concluded that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees, civilians, and even a state trooper on his security detail. The governor is crying foul.

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Cuomo engaged in “unwelcome and nonconsensual touching” as well as making comments of a “suggestive” sexual nature, creating a “hostile work environment for women,” state Attorney General Letitia James declared on Tuesday as she released the findings of a months-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by the three-term Democratic governor.

I believe women. And I believe these 11 women,” James declared, alluding to the ‘believe women’ slogan that became popular with the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017.

 

The state’s investigation found all 11 of Cuomo’s accusers to be credible in their accusations, noting that while Cuomo himself had denied certain claims made by some of the women, investigators “found his denials to lack credibility and to be inconsistent with the weight of evidence obtained during our investigation.”

Indeed, Cuomo’s unflinching refusal to admit wrongdoing or apologize has only hardened since former aide, Lindsey Boylan first went public with her allegations of unwanted sexual contact in December.

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The governor insisted in a bizarre press conference on Tuesday that he had “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” singling out another former aide whose accusations – untrue, he maintained – supposedly cut the deepest. 

Cuomo described how Charlotte Bennett, who allegedly opened up to him of her own volition regarding her history as a victim of sexual harassment reminded him of a younger female relative of his who had been similarly victimized. Any seemingly inappropriate behavior by the governor toward Bennett, he insisted, was merely the governor “trying to make sure she was working her way through [the trauma] the best she could.” His explanation seemed to imply that Bennett and her lawyers were at fault for failing to see the goodness at the heart of Cuomo’s comments.

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The harassment apparently was not limited to women on Cuomo’s staff, the report said. His accusers included civilians and even a state trooper, a member of his security detail. Another state trooper who was present was able to confirm Cuomo’s unwanted touching in that case. The governor at one point asked her to help him find a girlfriend, creepily noting his ideal mate must be someone who “can handle pain.”

The report’s findings extended beyond unwanted touching and innuendo to Cuomo’s reportedly vindictive professional behavior and an apparent culture of fear in his office.

 

" We also, conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture – one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments – contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist,” investigators Joon Kim and Anne Clark, who worked alongside AG James on the investigation, wrote in the report. 

That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment,” they wrote.

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Waving off criticism on Tuesday, Cuomo instead changed the subject, defensively noting that his office is “a demanding place to work and it is not a place for everyone.” 

Responding to the allegations of inappropriate touching, he even played a bizarre montage of himself kissing and hugging various people he has met over the years.

James’ the team have spoken to 179 people and pored over 74,000 items of evidence over the course of the probe, the AG said, describing the “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” that emerged. While the trio repeatedly described Cuomo’s behavior as “unlawful,” no decision was made as to whether the conduct “amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution.
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