Andrew Cuomo updates
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo violated state and federal laws by sexually harassing numerous women, a blockbuster investigation has concluded.
Letitia James, the state attorney-general who appointed the investigators, said their five-month probe revealed a “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” of a toxic workplace in which Cuomo abused current and former employees by groping, kissing or touching them against their wishes, and bombarding them with sexualised comments. Among the alleged victims was a state trooper assigned to the governor’s security detail.
The governor and his staff also retaliated against at least one of the complainants, according to James, by sharing negative information about her with the press and trying to smear her reputation.
At a press conference on Tuesday, lawyers who conducted the investigation for the attorney-general recounted numerous episodes in which Cuomo allegedly grabbed a former executive assistant’s breasts or buttocks or ran his finger down the spine of a trooper and touched her stomach.
In one incident, the governor allegedly told an assistant: “If you were single, the things I would do to you.” Such conduct, the lawyers said, was not simply an awkward or clumsy attempt at affection, but unlawful.
Cuomo responded in a 15-minute address during which he maintained his forceful denial of allegations that have dogged him since Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, came forward in February.
“The facts are much different than what has been portrayed,” Cuomo said, urging people to consult a rebuttal of the attorney-general’s report he posted on his website. “I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
Cuomo blamed the media, political foes and other culprits for his circumstances, and said those promoting false accusations were discrediting victims of sexual abuse. He did not take any questions.
The New York governor has repeatedly denied allegations that he sexually harassed women, although he has apologised in the past for behaviour that might have made people uncomfortable. He has been raising money for a campaign for a fourth term in office next year.
The civil investigation has for months hung over Cuomo, a three-term Democratic governor who rose to national prominence for his forceful handling of the early months of the Covid pandemic.
The report led to renewed calls for Cuomo to resign. In March, much of the state’s congressional delegation as well as its two US senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, demanded that he step down, saying Cuomo had lost the confidence of the people of New York as several women came forward to accuse him of harassment.
When asked what would come next, James said the publication of the report meant that her work on the matter was done. “At this point, we’re going to allow the chips to fall where they may.”