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Cuomo urged to resign after probe finds he harassed 11 women

August 3, 2021 Michael R. Sisak and Marina Villeneuve, Associated Press, and Raanan Geberer, Brooklyn Eagle
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Officials  from Brooklyn and the rest of New York City have joined the growing chorus of those who are demanding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo resign.

An investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed nearly a dozen women in and out of state government and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers, state Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday, hastening calls for the Democrat’s resignation or impeachment. 

Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermalyn, also chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, said, “As a childhood sexual abuse survivor who also endured sexual harassment throughout my career, these testimonies [of women who testified about harassment by Cuomo] triggered an emotional disturbance. There is absolutely no room for this abuse, especially with elected officials who’ve been entrusted to fight it. Governor Cuomo’s conduct found in the report is heinous and a gross abuse of power.”

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens), put out a statement with two other Congressmembers, Thomas Suozzi and Gregory Meeks, saying, “The investigation has found that the Governor engaged in abusive behavior toward women, including subordinates, created a hostile work environment and violated state and federal law … The time has come for Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the right thing for the people of New York State and resign.”

His colleague, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn-Manhattan), said that while Cuomo is entitled to his day in court, “There is a difference between formal investigations that may end in criminal charges and a question of confidence in our political leadership. Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a former Brooklyn councilmember, said, “(Cuomo) created a culture of abuse which he has long employed to evade accountability, but the creation of that culture itself demands accountability. He cannot continue to serve as Governor, and must resign immediately or be impeached expeditiously.”

Five progressive state legislators, including three state senators from Brooklyn — Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, State Sen. Julia Salazar and State Sen. Jabari Brisport — put out a joint statement that said, in part, “The Attorney General’s report found that the accounts of Governor Cuomo’s blatant misuse of power were not isolated incidents, but were ‘part of a pattern’ of abuse. The details of the report are appalling. It is clear that Governor Cuomo is unfit to lead New York State.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a former Brooklyn councilmember and a longtime foe of the governor, said Cuomo should either resign or be impeached.

Even President Joe Biden was among those who said Cuomo should resign, a high-profile condemnation from a one-time close ally.

The governor remained defiant, saying in a taped response to the findings that “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed” and that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

The nearly five-month investigation, led by two outside lawyers, concluded that 11 women who said that Cuomo had touched them inappropriately, commented on their appearance or made suggestive comments about their sex lives were telling the truth.

Those accusers included an aide who said Cuomo groped her breast at the governor’s mansion and a state trooper on his security detail, who said he ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and her back.

Anne Clark, who led the probe with former U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, said the allegations were corroborated to varying degrees, including by other witnesses and contemporaneous text messages.

“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture: Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, herself a former councilmember from Brooklyn, said at the press conference on Tuesday.

Many of the women said they feared retaliation if they reported the governor’s behavior, investigators said. On at least one occasion, the probe found, Cuomo’s staff took action “intended to discredit and disparage” an accuser — Lindsey Boylan, the first former employee to publicly accuse him of wrongdoing — including leaking confidential personnel files and drafting a letter attacking her credibility.

The investigation’s findings, detailed in a 165-page public report, turn up the pressure on the 63-year-old governor, who just a year ago was widely hailed for his steady leadership during the darkest days of the COVID-19 crisis.

The revelations, most of which were initially made public last winter, led to a chorus of calls then for Cuomo’s resignation from many top elected Democrats in New York. U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said after the report’s release Tuesday that it reinforces a call for his resignation they first made last March.

“No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office. We continue to believe that the Governor should resign,” they said in a joint statement.

While AG James concluded the investigation without referring the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges, local authorities could use its evidence and findings to mount their own cases. Albany District Attorney David Soares said he will be requesting material from James’ office and welcomed victims to contact his office with information.

The Assembly hired its own legal team to investigate myriad allegations regarding harassment, his book, nursing homes and special access to COVID-19 testing.

Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul, who would succeed Cuomo ig he is removed or resigns, called the behavior detailed in the report “repulsive and unlawful behavior” and said, “No one is above the law.”

In his taped response, Cuomo apologized to two accusers: Charlotte Bennett, who said the governor asked if she was open to sex with an older man after she confided in him that she had been a victim of sexual assault, and a woman he kissed at a wedding — an incident reported in a front-page story in The New York Times. Cuomo said he was hiring an expert to reform sexual harassment training for state employees, including the governor.

But he denied other allegations as fabricated and lashed out at the investigative process, saying it was rife with “politics and bias.” He explained that he’s been physically embracing people his whole life, that his mother and father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, had done the same and that the gesture was meant to “convey warmth.”

Cuomo’s lawyer issued a written rebuttal to the investigation’s findings, arguing in most cases that serious allegations, like the alleged groping, didn’t happen, or that his actions were misconstrued.

“For those who are using this moment to score political points or seek publicity or personal gain. I say they actually discredit the legitimate sexual harassment victims that the law was designed to protect,” Cuomo said.

Bennett called the governor’s apology to her “meaningless.”

The report detailed, for the first time, allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed a female state trooper on his security detail. It said that in addition to touching the trooper, Cuomo kissed her on the cheek, asked for her help in finding a girlfriend and asked why she didn’t wear a dress.

The report also included an allegation from a woman who worked for an energy company who said Cuomo touched her chest at an event. The woman said Cuomo ran his fingers across the lettering on her shirt, reading the name of her company aloud. Then he leaned in and said: “I’m going to say I see a spider on your shoulder,” and brushed his hand in between her shoulder and breasts, the report said.

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  1. cathylovesyou

    Now that Joe Biden suggested The Creep resign he should do the same thing not only as Joe is number one groper, his people are doing a terrible job for the country as is Cuomo for NY State. They are both crooked, gropers, and inept at their jobs.
    No wonder we have trouble with WOKE etc. vast crimes in Blue Cities like NY and throughout the country.
    Cuban, Venezuelans, Eastern Block immigrants all know what America is doing to itself it insane and they can’t understand what is wrong with us.