De Blasio calls for investigation into Cuomo sexual harassment claims

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Thursday called for an investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) by a former member of his administration, Lindsey Boylan.

On Wednesday in an essay published to Medium, Boylan accused the governor of inappropriate touching and remarks, as well as kissing without consent.

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“These allegations are really disturbing. Let’s be clear about that, they’re really disturbing. We have to, as New Yorkers, we got to take this seriously. When a woman comes forward with this kind of very specific allegations, they have to be taken seriously,” de Blasio said at a press conference.

De Blasio, who is widely considered to be rivals with Cuomo, specifically called for an investigation independent of any possible influence from Cuomo’s administration.

“We need a full and independent investigation, I want to emphasize the word ‘independent,’ investigation by some individual or entity that is not compromised, is not dominated by the governor’s office, but an independent investigation,” de Blasio continued. “This kind of behavior, if it’s true, is unacceptable in any public servant, in anybody. So we’ve got to get the truth about this.”

Back in December, Boylan accused the governor of making inappropriate comments about her appearance but did not elaborate further at the time.

Cuomo’s press secretary, Caitlin Girouard, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that Boylan’s accusations were “quite simply false.” In particular, Girouard pointed to a statement from other administration officials saying they did not witness conversations that she alleged occurred on a flight in October 2017, when Cuomo allegedly remarked to Boylan: “Let’s play strip poker.”

De Blasio’s remarks also follow him last week coming to the defense of a Queens lawmaker, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D), who accused Cuomo of threatening him over the phone for not helping the governor allegedly cover up the scandal surrounding the administration underreporting the number of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes.

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Kim himself on Wednesday came to the defense of Boylan, and called Cuomo a “coward.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.