Cuomo Directs NY Attorney General, Top Judge To Oversee Sexual Harassment Inquiry

Following widespread calls for an independent investigation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Sunday asked the state’s attorney general and top judge to spearhead an inquiry into accusations of sexual harassment brought against the Democratic governor by two of his former aides.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address virtually from The War Room at … [+]

Cuomo had previously tasked former Federal Judge Barbara Jones—who once worked as partners at a law firm with one of the governor’s closest advisors—with handling the inquiry, but reversed course Sunday morning after numerous federal and state lawmakers called for the investigation to remain entirely independent of the governor.

“We want to avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or interference of politics,” read the statement from Beth Garvey, Cuomo’s special counsel and senior advisor, adding that the governor’s office wants the investigation to be done “in a manner beyond reproach.”

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The Cuomo administration is asking New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals Janet DiFiore (a Cuomo appointee) to jointly select an independent lawyer “without political affiliation” to conduct a “thorough review of the matter and issue a public report.”

“The work product will be solely controlled by that independent lawyer personally selected by the Attorney General and Chief Judge,” read the statement. “All members of the governor’s office will cooperate fully.”

Cuomo—who was already battling a political firestorm over his administration’s handling of nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic—has faced mounting scrutiny after two former aides accused him of sexual harassment. Lindsey Boylan, a former advisor to the governor who is currently running for Manhattan borough president, alleged in a blog post that she was sexually harassed for years while working for the governor, a claim Cuomo’s press representatives quickly dismissed as “quite simply false.” A second woman—Charlotte Bennet, a former executive assistant and advisor to the governor—similarly accused the governor of sexual harassment on Saturday, telling The New York Times that Cuomo asked deeply personal questions about her sex life which she interpreted to be sexual advances. Cuomo denied making any inappropriate advances in a statement from his office to Forbes on Saturday and promised an independent investigation, tapping Jones to lead the charge. His selecting of the investigator drew backlash from state and federal lawmakers, who said the task should be deferred to the state’s attorney general.

“Biden, New York Officials Demand Independent Investigation Into Cuomo Sexual Harassment Claims” (Forbes)

“Former Cuomo Aide Details Sexual Harassment Allegations” (Forbes)

“Report: 2nd Staffer Accuses Gov. Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment” (Forbes)

I’m a British-born reporter covering breaking news for Forbes.

 

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