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Cuomo accuser’s lawyer alleges Cuomo ‘interference’ in NY AG’s probe

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A lawyer for one of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s (D) sexual harassment accusers alleged Monday that the governor’s office is interfering in the state attorney general’s independent investigation into various women’s claims against him.

In a letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), the lawyer for former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett referenced a recent report “that the Executive Chamber is providing staffers with in-house attorneys to meet with them in advance of their investigatory interviews […] and to attend those interviews with them” and objected to the reported conduct.

“It is my understanding that these attorneys are also ‘debriefing’ staffers after their interviews with investigators,” wrote lawyer Debra Katz.

“This is highly improper and we object in the strongest possible terms to this obvious interference with what you have stated would be a ‘thorough and independent’ investigation,” Katz continued in her three-page letter.

MORE ON CUOMO: Cuomo accuser says Hillary Clinton not her ‘hero’ anymore after her response to sexual harassment claims

Furthermore, Katz wrote to James that the three-term governor’s move “will have a chilling effect on potential witnesses or other accusers” who wish to participate in the investigation but who “fear job-related retaliation if they tell the investigators about the Governor’s sexual harassing behavior and misconduct of those around him.”

“We urge to issue a directive to the Governor to cease this highly improper practice,” she added.

MORE ON CUOMO: FBI investigating if Cuomo aides lied to DOJ about nursing home deaths

Started earlier this month, the investigation is being carried out by outside lawyers headed by former acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim and longtime employment lawyer Anne Clark.

“We believe this offer of counsel constitutes a deliberate attempt by the Governor to interfere with your office’s investigation,” Katz also wrote.

Katz also urged James to “issue a public statement” denying a report that her office had ordered the Executive Chamber to conduct a “parallel” probe into claims that he groped an unidentified female aide in the Executive Mansion late last year.

Just last week, a current aide to Cuomo, Alyssa McGrath, publicly accused the governor of attempting to cover up the alleged groping incident by asking that accuser “specifically not to tell me” about it.

MORE ON CUOMO: Cuomo: ‘I’m not going to resign’

The 25-year-old Bennett has accused Cuomo of inquiring about her sex life, such as if she had ever slept with an older man, which gave her the impression that the governor wanted to start a sexual relationship with her. Cuomo has apologized, alleging he never meant to say anything offensive and “never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.”

In an interview with CBS News earlier this month, Bennett didn’t accept Cuomo’s apology. “It’s not an issue of my feelings […] It’s an issue of his actions,” Bennett said. 

“The fact is that he was sexually harassing me and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me,” she added.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’

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The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”

The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”

An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.

In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.

Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”

As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”

Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”

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