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Gov. Cuomo reacts to sixth sexual harassment accuser

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Following a sixth woman on Tuesday accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment, the governor later that day said he wasn’t aware of her claim and reiterated that he did not engage in inappropriate behavior and that nobody told him at the time of the alleged incidents that he made them feel uncomfortable.

On top of the sexual harassment allegations, the governor is also facing an investigation for reports that his administration withheld data on coronavirus-related nursing home deaths from federal prosecutors and altered a state Department of Health report on homes to downplay the impact of a March 25 directive saying that nursing homes couldn’t reject patients even if they were COVID-positive.

RELATED: Report: Cuomo advisers altered report on COVID-19 nursing home deaths

The Albany Times Union reported the most recent allegation, in which the woman recently told a supervisor in the executive chamber that Cuomo inappropriately touched her late last year at the governor’s mansion.

Asked by a reporter about the latest accuser at Tuesday afternoon’s impromptu press conference over the phone, Cuomo replied, “I’m not aware of any of the claim.” He repeated that he never touched anybody inappropriately nor made any inappropriate advances and that nobody at the time of the alleged harassment told him that he was making them feel uncomfortable.

Mentioning state Attorney General Letitia James (D) this week announcing two investigators to look into the sexual harassment allegations as part of her investigation, Cuomo said that he’s going to “respect that investigation”.

RELATED: Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

The Times Union reported that the woman, whose identity the newspaper withheld since she could not be reached for comment, is a member of the executive chamber staff and had been summoned to the mansion to do work, according to an official close to the matter.

Moreover, The Times Union reported that Cuomo’s office learned of the allegation over the weekend and it was reported to the governor’s counsel by other employees in the chamber.

The newspaper added that the complaint was forwarded by the governor’s office to Attorney General James’s office.

“All allegations that we learn of directly or indirectly are going promptly to the investigators appointed by the attorney general,” Beth Garvey, acting counselor to the governor, said in a statement to The Times Union on Tuesday.

RELATED: NY State Assembly GOP members introduce impeachment resolution against Cuomo

Another reporter at Tuesday’s conference brought up that in 2018, Cuomo called for the resignation of then-state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman “within three hours” of multiple women accusing him of physical abuse, for which Schneiderman ultimately resigned. “Why doesn’t that same expectation apply to you?” the reporter asked, also inquiring about the governor’s conversations with his daughters about the allegations.

“There’s obviously allegations and then there are allegations, right? And there’s a spectrum of allegations,” Cuomo said. “There’s capital crimes, there’s physical violence—right?—down to more minor allegations.”

As for what he told his daughters, Cuomo said that he told them the same thing he has told the press.

“If you have an allegation, let’s find out what the facts were. You can allege something—it might be true, might be not true—you may have misperceived, there may be other facts,” Cuomo also said. “So let’s get the facts,” he said, saying that’s what the investigation is about.

Another reporter asked Cuomo if he would run for a fourth term in 2022 as he has mentioned before, for which the governor didn’t give a direct answer.

RELATED: Poll: 40% of New Yorkers support recalling Gov. Cuomo

“First, today’s not a day for politics,” Cuomo replied. “I’m focusing on my job. My job is vaccines, getting a budget done, rebuilding New York.”

Secondly, the governor told the reporter, “You don’t know any facts, right? You know allegations, you don’t know facts.” Cuomo reiterated that “real discussion” cannot happen until investigation reveals the facts.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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