NEW YORK:New York Governor Andrew Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive feedback to 11 ladies in violation of the regulation, the state’s legal professional basic stated on Tuesday, prompting native prosecutors to launch a legal investigation and reigniting requires him to resign or be impeached.
The findings of a five-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment discovered the governor created a “poisonous” workplace and that his office illegally retaliated against the first accuser to go public.
After state Attorney General Letitia James unveiled the probe’s conclusions, President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats called on the party’s one-time star to resign.
But in a video statement https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-responds-independent-reviewer-report issued after James’ briefing, Cuomo, 63, made clear he had no plans to do so and denied he had acted inappropriately.
“The facts are much different than what has been portrayed,” Cuomo stated.
A 3rd-term Democratic governor who has served within the submit since 2011, Cuomo referred to as the findings inaccurate and unfair. He stated his accusers had misinterpreted his phrases, gestures and demeanor, insisting his conduct was all the time supposed to convey heat to the ladies.
The investigation marked a swift fall for a governor who grew to become a preferred nationwide determine within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic by presenting himself as an authoritative presence in day by day information conferences.
The findings, detailed in a scathing 168-page report https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2021.08.03_nyag_-_investigative_report.pdf, may deal a devastating blow to Cuomo https://www.reuters.com/world/us/comforter-in-chief-persona-non-grata-cuomos-stunning-fall-2021-08-03 – as soon as seen as a potential presidential candidate and a former U.S. housing secretary underneath President Bill Clinton- and hinder his administration.
“What this investigation revealed was a disturbing sample of conduct by the governor of the nice state of New York,” said James, also a Democrat. “These 11 women were in a hostile and toxic work environment.
Biden told reporters at the White House: “I think he should resign.”
“I’m certain there are some embraces that have been completely harmless. But apparently the legal professional basic determined there have been issues that weren’t,” Biden said.
The speaker of the Democratic-controlled New York Assembly said an impeachment investigation would conclude “as quickly as possible” after receiving proof from James’ probe.
The civil investigation discovered the actions of Cuomo and his senior advisers “violated a number of state and federal legal guidelines,” James’ office said, but she did not pursue criminal charges.
After the report was published, the district attorney for Albany County, David Soares, announced his office had opened a investigation to see if any conduct rose to the level of a crime. Albany County is home to the city of Albany, the New York state capital.
Soares also requested evidence from the probe and welcomed “any victim” to come back ahead.
“CLIMATE OF FEAR”
Investigators spoke to 179 people, James said. The probe revealed a “climate of fear” during which Cuomo sexually harassed a number of ladies, lots of them younger, she stated.
While lots of the accusations have been beforehand identified, investigators on the briefing revealed some new particulars based mostly on what Cuomo’s accusers instructed them.
Anne Clark, one of many two legal professionals who ran the inquiry, stated one of many ladies Cuomo focused was a state trooper. The governor stood behind her in an elevator and “ran his finger from her neck down her backbone and stated, ‘Hey you.’” The trooper, according to Clark, said Cuomo inappropriately touched her from “her chest to her privates.”
Cuomo, a divorced father of three grownup daughters, stated he was sorry if his conduct was misunderstood by his accusers. He additionally stated he would “not be distracted” from his work battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo stated within the video assertion. “I’m 63 years previous. I’ve lived my whole grownup life in public view. That is simply not who I’m. And that’s not who I’ve ever been.”
“RIFE WITH BULLYING”
James herself is a rising star within the Democratic Party who legally challenged the National Rifle Association within the state after catapulting from New York City public advocate to legal professional basic in 2018.
She named two veteran outdoors attorneys to run the investigation: Joon Kim, a former federal prosecutor and performing U.S. legal professional in Manhattan, and Clark, an employment lawyer with expertise in sexual harassment instances.
Kim stated Cuomo’s office was “rife with bullying, worry and intimidation” in which crossing him or his senior staff meant you would be “written off, cast aside or worse.”
The report rejected Cuomo’s ideas that his conduct was an harmless reflection of the affectionate Italian-American tradition during which he was raised. Investigators discovered little credibility in his “blanket denials and lack of recollection as to particular incidents.”
“What these witnesses – and many others – described is not just old-fashioned, affectionate behavior – it was sexual harassment,” the report concluded.
Rita Glavin, a lawyer defending Cuomo towards the sexual harassment complaints, launched a prolonged “place assertion” https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2021-08/8.3.21_Position_Statement_of_Governor_Cuomo.pdf responding to the report, which she said “purposefully omits key evidence.” Glavin accused James of bias.
Glavin’s assertion included pages of pictures of Cuomo embracing or kissing distinguished political figures, together with Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore. It additionally included a number of pictures of Cuomo kissing his late father, Mario Cuomo, who additionally served as governor of New York.
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