NY attorney general to oversee Cuomo sexual misconduct probe

Joanna Estrada
Марта 3, 2021

Charlotte Bennett, a health policy adviser to Mr Cuomo until November, told The New York Times that he had harassed her past year. "The work product will be exclusively controlled by that independent lawyer personally selected by the attorney general and chief judge", Garvey said in the statement.

Bennett says the governor didn't try to touch her, "but the message of the entire episode was unmistakable to her". She was highly critical of the way that the governor was handling the pandemic, after both of her husband's parents died of coronavirus in different assisted living and nursing homes in NY. "There must be a truly independent investigation to thoroughly review these troubling allegations against the governor, and I stand ready to oversee that investigation and make any appointments necessary", James said.

Under state law, the state Attorney-General needs a referral from the Governor in order to investigate his conduct. The 63-year-old allegedly told her he was "open" to relationships with women in their 20s-"comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship", writes the Times.

Uncharacteristically, the outspoken governor has stayed mostly out of the public eye since the sexual harassment scandal started gaining traction last week.

CNN has reached out to Bennett for comment on the latest accusation, which the governor denied in a statement on Saturday. The 36-year-old said she chose to resign after Cuomo purportedly kissed her on the lips in 2018.

A spokesperson for Ms James called Mr Cuomo's idea of simply giving her a role in selecting the investigator unacceptable because that inquisitor would lack the ability to subpoena witnesses and documents and would have to rely on voluntary cooperation.

"To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to", the governor stated. Cuomo denied the allegations.

Earlier in the week, former staffer Lindsey Boylan claimed she had been harassed by Cuomo from 2016 to 2018.

Villeneuve reported from Albany, New York.

The letter authorizing James' investigation said that all state employees have been directed to co-operate fully with the review. State and federal elected Democrats called B.S. on this plan.

But in a private conversation leaked to the New York Post, a top aide to Mr Cuomo confessed to covering up the real numbers and withholding the information out of concern the data "was going to be used against us".

Her accusations - corroborated by texts and by others, including her mother, who say she told them about her interactions with the governor shortly after they happened - follow those of former state economic development official Lindsey Boylan, who alleges that Cuomo harassed her on multiple occasions and once planted an unwanted kiss on her lips.

It's quite a tumble for Cuomo, who had been widely celebrated for his leadership during the pandemic, particularly the daily news conferences where he sought to inform and reassure the public with charts, graphs and a machismo he dubbed "New York tough".

"Questions of this magnitude can not hang over the heads of New Yorkers as we fight off a pandemic and economic crisis", de Blasio said in a statement. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. While a truly independent investigation may uncover more evidence or instances of abuse, the existing details are sufficient for me to form my conclusion.

The referral letter allows Attorney General Letitia James to deputize an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry with full subpoena power.

His statement drew immediate backlash from critics who said he was throwing responsibility onto the women for perceiving his statements wrongly.

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