UPDATED, with particulars of Chris Cuomo’s testimony: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed a number of girls in violation of federal and state legislation, and in addition retaliated in opposition to a former worker who went public along with her complaints, the state’s lawyer normal stated on Tuesday.
“The independent investigation found that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women, by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging and by making inappropriate comments,” James stated. “Further, the governor and his senior team took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story, her truth.”
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After the allegations surfaced earlier this yr, the governor’s referred the matter to James’ workplace for an investigation, and he or she launched an inquiry that included the appointment of out of doors investigators.
“Governor Cuomo’s administration fostered a toxic workplace that enabled harassment and created a hostile work environment where staffers did not feel comfortable coming forward with complaints about sexual harassment due to a climate of fear, and given the power dynamics,” James stated.
Cuomo has refused calls to resign coming from a few of the prime Democrats from his state, together with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). President Joe Biden additionally stated that Cuomo ought to resign if the allegations have been true. Cuomo apologized for “acting in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” however he denied participating in inappropriate habits.
James’ announcement drew protection throughout main cable information networks, together with CNN. Cuomo’s brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, who in March stated that he wouldn’t cowl the story “because he is my brother,” a state of affairs that produces an apparent battle of curiosity. Chris Cuomo later apologized after it was revealed that he participated in technique classes with the governor and staffers to speak about how to answer the harassment claims.
According to the report, the CNN host was interviewed as a part of the investigation. He was amongst those that recommended the governor to indicate contrition after certainly one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett, his former government assistant and well being coverage adviser, got here ahead along with her allegations, together with in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.
“During his testimony, Chris Cuomo explained that there was discussion about remedial measures the Chamber [governor’s office] should take in light of the sexual harassment allegations, but some people had taken the position that ‘they should just wait,’” in accordance with the report.
The report concluded that it was “revealing and consistent with the Executive Chamber’s overall approach that, when faced with allegations of sexual harassment brought against the Governor, the inner circle of confidantes brought in to control and direct the response included a number of individuals with no official role in the Executive Chamber.”
The 165-page investigative report lays out in nice element the allegations of harassment and retaliation. It is also far more damning in establishing a sample of conduct. “Our investigation revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public,” the authors wrote.
Cuomo’s administration is also dealing with a federal investigation into whether or not it coated up the true extent of nursing dwelling deaths final yr resulting from Covid, because the governor was being hailed as a media star for his day by day coronavirus briefings because the nation went into lockdown. The briefings even earned him an International Emmy award.
The report begins with a rundown of allegations from 11 accusers, beginning with Cuomo’s government assistant, with a recounting of inappropriate feedback and habits, together with shut and intimate hugs and grabbing her butt.
“These offensive interactions, among others, culminated in an incident at the Executive Mansion in November 2020 when the Governor, during another close hug with Executive Assistant #1, reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast,” the report acknowledged. The lady stored the incident to herself till she watched Cuomo’s March 3 press convention wherein he stated that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”
The state trooper, a girl, skilled undesirable kissing and groping, in addition to inappropriate feedback. In one incident, in accordance with the report, he ran “his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying ‘hey, you,’ while she was standing in front of him in an elevator.” The trooper had been moved to the governor’s safety element at his request, after they met briefly at an occasion in 2017, though she didn’t meet the minimal service requirement.
Cuomo was reportedly interviewed for 11 hours as a part of the investigation, and “did not dispute that he sometimes commented on staff members’ appearance and attire (although generally only to compliment), and stated that, being “old fashioned,” he generally used phrases of endearment resembling ‘honey,’ ‘darling,’ or ‘sweetheart.’ He additionally didn’t dispute that he gave common hugs and kisses on the cheek and brow. But he did dispute the way in which wherein these actions had been interpreted by the complainants,” in accordance with the report. Cuomo, although, instructed that the allegations have been politically motivated or the results of animosity in opposition to him. He additionally expressed the view that the investigation itself was politically motivated.
“Where the Governor made specific denials of conduct that the complainants recalled clearly, as discussed in greater detail below in the factual findings, we found his denials to lack credibility and to be inconsistent with the weight of the evidence obtained during our investigation,” the report concluded. “We also found the Governor’s denials and explanations around specific allegations to be contrived.” The investigation discovered that in distinction to Cuomo’s blanket denials and lack of recollection of sure occasions, accusers recounted their experiences with specificity.
Although James stated that Cuomo violated the legislation, she stated that the matter was civil in nature, not legal.
Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010, succeeding David Paterson, who took workplace after the resignation of Eliot Spitzer after the revelation that he repeatedly employed prostitutes. Cuomo was reelected in 2014 and 2018.
The governor additionally faces an investigation by the State Assembly, which may begin impeachment proceedings in opposition to him. If Cuomo have been to resign or be faraway from workplace, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would serve out the rest of his time period by means of 2023.