NY Attorney General: Investigation into Governor Cuomo concluded that sexually harassed multiple women

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NEW YORK- On Tuesday, August 3rd, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that an ongoing investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo found that he sexually harassed several current and former state employees, many of them young women.

The women accused the Democrat governor of subjecting them to inappropriate kisses and touching or inappropriate sexual remarks.

The nearly five-month-long investigation, conducted by two outside lawyers who spoke to 179 people, found that the Cuomo administration was a “hostile work environment” and that it was “rife with fear and intimidation.”

According to reports, of the 179 people interviewed, there were complainants, current and former members of the executive chamber, state troopers, additional state employees, and others who regularly interacted with the governor.

At a press conference on August 3rd, James said in a statement:

“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture: Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees, federal and state laws.”

The third-term governor has continually denied all allegations. On Monday, August 2nd, it was revealed that Cuomo was questioned by investigators for 11 hours during the month of June. He was asked by reporters to respond. He said:

“I said I would cooperate with it and at the appropriate time I will comment on the review, but this is not the appropriate time yet.”

Accusations against Cuomo ranted from groping under a woman’s shirt and planting unwanted kisses to asking unwelcome personal questions about sex and dating. According to James, there were not penalties tied to the report and the accusers were free to seek legal action. She said:

“I believe these 11 women.”

Investigators said they found all 11 women to be credible, noting that their allegations were corroborated to varying degrees, including by other witnesses and contemporaneous text messages.

Reportedly, Cuomo’s behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other state employees, including a state trooper on his protective detail as well as members of the public. In the report, investigators Joon Kim and Anne Clark wrote:

“We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture — one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments — contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist.

That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.”

The report states that Cuomo made specific denials of conduct that complainants recalled clearly, but investigators said:

“We found his denials to lack credibility and to be inconsistent with the weight of evidence obtained during our investigation.”

In addition to interviewing 179 individuals, investigators reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence, in which James said “painted a deeply disturbing yet clear picture.” The investigators repeatedly described Cuomo’s conduct as “unlawful.”

Cuomo has denied allegations of touching anyone inappropriately, but in February released a statement acknowledging that some of his workplace remarks “may have been insensitive or too personal.”

Instead of taking ownership, he added that he was “truly sorry” to those who might have “misinterpreted” his remarks “as an unwanted flirtation.”

James stated that her investigation has concluded. There were no referrals to criminal prosecutors, however, that does not preclude local authorities from using the evidence and findings of the report to mount their own cases. 

At the press conference, Kim said in a statement:

“These brave women stepped forward to speak truth to power and in doing so they expressed faith in the belief that although the governor may be powerful, the truth is even more so.”

The attorney general’s report is expected to play an important role in an ongoing inquiry in the state Assembly into whether there are grounds for Cuomo to be impeached.

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One of Gov. Cuomo’s sexual harassment accusers willing to take polygraph, challenges Cuomo to take one too

August 1st, 2021

ALBANY, NY- According to reports, the female aide who has accused Governor Andrew Cuomo of groping her is willing to take a lie-detector test and has challenged the governor to take one too.

On Friday, July 30th, the unidentified woman’s lawyer, Brian Premo, told the Albany Times Union that she had told him “the day we met … that she would take a polygraph test without hesitation.” Premo also stated that his client wants the governor to submit to a polygraph test.

The aide previously described an incident with Cuomo in November 2020 when he summoned her to the Executive Mansion in Albany, claiming he was “having problems” with his cellphone. 

She said that is when Cuomo got up from behind his desk and aggressively embraced her, before slammed the door shut. She said:

“He pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand. I remember looking down like, ‘Holy (expletive).”

The woman alleged that the 63-year-old governor reached under her blouse and grabbed one of her breasts over her bra. She stated she immediately walked out of the office, but since the interaction happened on a weekday during work hours, she had to go back to work in the State Capitol Building.

She added that she also believes that the governor tried to groom her for a relationships over the last two years. The woman is still employed by the Cuomo administration.

However, Premo said that since she has disclosed her allegations under condition of anonymity, she has been given very few job-related duties in the office. Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, has not yet responded to an immediate request for comment.

However, Glavin has previously stated that the governor “never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone.” Erica Vladimer of the Sexual Harassment Working Group said in a statement:

“My heart hurts knowing that this was one of the first things she told her attorney. That our culture practically mandates such a choice because as it stands, ‘believe survivors’ really means ‘believe survivors when it’s convenient.”

She added:

“Her strength and willingness to share the trauma she experiences by the most powerful man in New York state publicly isn’t enough on its own, she needs to ‘prove’ her truthfulness. If our electeds showed institutional courage and passed the SHWG agenda, we could finally start to change our harasser-protecting culture for every staffer, every survivor.”

The unidentified woman’s allegations are part of an ongoing investigation headed by state Attorney General Letitia James’ office, which is probing multiple accounts made by women, including current and former female aides accusing Cuomo of sexual misconduct.

According to reports, the state Assembly has also launched its own, separate impeached inquiry into the sexual harassment allegations as well as reports that the governor misused state resources in the production of his $5.1M book deal, along with the alleged withholding of data pertaining to COVID-19 policy impacting nursing homes. 

Assembly lawmakers reportedly voted unanimously to begin issuing subpoenas to compel witness testimony related to the sexual harassment-focused impeachment investigation into Cuomo. 

Reportedly, so far, 100,000 documents have been receiving including “email, texts, and letter correspondence, photographs, training material, policy reports, contracts, transcripts and other material.”

Current and former employees in the Cuomo administration will likely be the targets of subpoenas. James’ office has allegedly already issued subpoenas to Cuomo staffers in the executive chamber.

The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office is also investigating the alleged withholding of nursing home data and Cuomo’s book deal. 

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Recent disclosures show that Gov. Cuomo used over $250K in campaign funds to pay attorney in sexual harassment case

July 18th, 2021

ALBANY, NY- According to documents filed on Friday, July 16th, Governor Andrew Cuomo used campaign funds to pay nearly $285,000 in bills from the lawyer defending him against several sexual harassment allegations, despite previously stating he would use state financing to pay for his legal fees.

According to the disclosures released by New York’s Board of Elections, Cuomo’s re-election campaign, “Andrew Cuomo for New York,” gave Glavin PLLC, a New York-based law firm $111,774 on May 3d and $173,098 on June 2nd.

That same day, Cuomo told reporters that he would use taxpayer funding rather than campaign funds for his legal defense amid the New York State Assembly’s “impeachment investigation” into claims of sexual harassment against the governor.

In early June, it was estimated that Cuomo’s legal defense could cost New York taxpayers up to $2.5 million. Reportedly, New York law allows politicians to spend campaign funds on legal fees.

Both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Long Island) did so before they were convicted in unrelated corruption schemes.

As the sexual harassment scandal against him gained momentum, Cuomo hired Glavin, who spoke in defense of him when the New York Times reported that a female aide had accused him of ogling her, commenting on her looks, and making suggestive remarks to her and a female colleague.

During the June 2nd news conference that followed the revelation that Cuomo sold his coronavirus memoir for $5.1 million, the three-term Democrat actually defended his decision to use taxpayer money to fund his legal bills. He said:

“The state, the way it works is the Executive Chamber has retained the counsel and that is a state expense. That has been the case in every investigation. So, that’s where we are now.”

When asked by reporters if he was paying any other lawyers out of his own pocket or with campaign cash, he responded by saying:

“Not at this time.”

Cuomo’s recent disclosures came hours after reports shared that taxpayers have already shelled out nearly $800,000 to the law firm of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello to defend Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 crisis. 

On Thursday, July 15th, it was reported that Cuomo would be questioned by lawyers from Attorney General Letitia James’ office as part of her inquiry into claims of sexual harassment against him, which is separate from the Assembly’s impeachment investigation.

Debra Katz, the attorney for Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett, celebrated the fact that Cuomo will be questioned “under oath” by “seasoned investigators.” She added:

“He will not be able to deflect questions like he has at his press conference and he will not be able to play with words. Will he admit to his inappropriate behavior or will he continue his ridiculous lies and victim-blaming? Which story will he tell this time?”

Cuomo has denied all allegations of inappropriate touching, but did apologize for making women feel uncomfortable. Facing mounting pressure from within his party to resign, Cuomo, who is eligible to seek a fourth term in officer in 2022, has vowed not to step down, claiming that all allegations of impropriety against him are false.

In June he held a $10,000-per-person fundraiser, in which he raised more than $1 million toward his re-election efforts. Most of the attendees were longtime supporters of Cuomo and close allies, including administration officials. In January, Cuomo already had nearly $17 million in campaign cash.

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NY Gov. Cuomo absolutely fumes when asked if he ‘made money on the backs of dead people’ in his state

May 24th, 2021

BUFFALO, NY – During a press conference held on May 20th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo managed to lose his cool when asked by a reporter if he would like to respond to the allegations that his book deal regarding the pandemic was tantamount to “making money on the backs of dead people.”

It is without question that Governor Cuomo’s book titled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” has been a source of controversy.

Reasons for the controversy surrounding the book stem from the fact that Governor Cuomo managed to make over $5 million on a memoir themed around the coronavirus, not to mention the fact that New York was among the hardest hit in terms of fatalities and hospitalizations related to the pandemic ostensibly due to poor leadership within the state.

One reasonable point of scrutiny related to COVID-19 adversely affecting the state of New York can be traced back to Governor Cuomo’s March 25th, 2020 statewide directive that forced nursing homes to take in recovering COVID-19 patients – whether or not they remained contagious.

Taking all that into consideration, it’s understandable why there is swirling controversy regarding Governor Cuomo authoring a book pertaining to leadership lessons with respect to the pandemic.

Thus, on May 20th, Governor Cuomo was asked during a press conference held in Buffalo the following by a reporter present in relation to his over $5 million book deal:

“The allegations out that you made this money on the backs of dead New Yorkers: How do you respond to that?”

Seeming to lose its cool, Governor Cuomo responded with:

“That’s stupid; next question.”

The reporter then followed up the question with asking why the governor thought it was “stupid” that family members of those who lost loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic were reasonably incensed over his secured book deal.

Governor Cuomo responded with:

“I thought your question was stupid and offensive.”

“I wrote a book saying this is what we should learn from what has happened so far with COVID, because we’re not done and it’s going to continue. And if we don’t learn the lessons, we’re going to continue to make the same mistakes. That’s why I wrote the book.”

One of the more obvious reasons that this book being written by Governor Cuomo is a point of contention that has drawn criticism from both sides of the political aisle is the fact that it was released in October of 2020.

Considering that the book was released in October of 2020 shows that it was written during this summer of 2020 – the period in which the state of New York was showing some of the highest numbers in the nation for fatalities, hospitalizations, and infection rates regarding the pandemic.

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Back in April, we at Law Enforcement Today shared another report regarding Governor Cuomo’s fielding of media inquiries during a press conference – which in this case, he seemingly brushed off inquiries about his alleged sexual improprieties. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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ALBANY, NY- On Monday, April 26th, at his first open press conference in months, Governor Andrew Cuomo fended off a barrage of questions about his mounting scandals, defiantly insisting that he has done “nothing wrong” and that some of his accusers “just want attention” and “are jealous.”

The New York Post reported that during Cuomo’s first in-person press conference with reporters since the end of November, he was bombarded with questions on whether there was any truth to the growing accusations against him involving sexual harassment, deaths in local nursing homes, and his controversial book deal. 

Cuomo was also confronted publicly about the latest accusation involving him, which was a New York Times story alleging that he used an anti-trans slur and referred to Jews as “these people and their (expletive) treehouses” during a Sukkot event. Cuomo stated:

“I never said any such things. They printed slurs and slander and you’d have to ask them why they did that.”

When asked why he thought the dozens of sources in the article that attested to alleged behavior were speaking out, he replied by saying:

“People are venial. People want attention. People are angry. People are jealous.”

The recent Times report followed months of allegations from women accusing Cuomo of inappropriate behavior. When pressed specifically on whether he had groped female staffers and otherwise sexually harassed them, Cuomo responded by saying:

“To put it very simply, no.”

However, several young former female staffers have accused Cuomo of using issues with his cell phone as a ruse to ask them for help so he can get physically close to them.

One of the female staffers claimed that the governor asked her to his Executive Mansion late in 2020 using the cell phone ploy.

She alleged that he then reached under her blouse and groped her breasts. At the recent press conference, when asked if he regretted seeking the young women’s help and inviting them to the mansion, Cuomo replied, “No.”

He added:

“I have many women who were working in state government. I’m very proud that we probably have more women in senior positions than every before. And I think that’s a good thing.”

The governor was then asked whether investigators hired by state Attorney General Letitia James’ office to probe the harassment claims might find anything at all to substantiate the claims. He fired back:

“The report can’t say anything different because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

During the press conference, his blanket defiance was in stark contrast to some of his past responses to the sexual harassment allegations against him.

In February, the governor tried to explain that the “incidents” were “misinterpreted jokes” but also added that he was “truly sorry” if he offended anyone. 

During the press conference, Cuomo also tried to battle back against allegations that he and his top aides tried to hide the true tally of coronavirus-related nursing home deaths in the state. 

His administration has been accused of for then underreporting deaths from nursing homes by excluding those who ultimately passed away in hospitals. He said that the controversy was just “more of the ugly politics at the time.”

Cuomo the blamed President Trump among others for making it a “very big issue.” He also denied allegations that he forced staffers to work on his pandemic memoir. He said:

“The people volunteered to work on the book.”

In a statement, attorney Debra Katz said:

“Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo conducted a press conference in which he continued his effort to actively undermine the Attorney General’s independent investigation into his sexual harassment of my client, Charlotte Bennett, and numerous other women.”

She added:

“The Governor said he didn’t ‘do anything wrong,’ demonstrating a studied ignorance of both his legal obligations and a revisionist history about his own conduct.

Does he really not understand that sexually propositioning a 25-year-old staffer after making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature is illegal? Or does he continue to believe that he law does not apply to him?”

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