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.
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”.
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.
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.
“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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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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