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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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Former FBI official investigating Trump indicted on charges of working for Russian Oligarch he was investigating

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The former FBI official involved in the investigation into the made up Trump-Russia collusion has been charged with…wait for it…Russia collusion. Former FBI official Charles McGonigal was charged with “violating sanctions and collaborating with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.”

The Department of Justice made the announcement Monday. “Charles McGonigal, a former high-level FBI official, and Sergey Shestakov, a Court interpreter, violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams wrote in the released statement.

“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael Driscoll noted in a statement.  “There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal.”

According to federal prosecutors, McGonigal received “concealed payments” from a Russian intelligence officer in exchange for his help in having sanctions targeting Deripaska lifted. “McGonigal is being charged by the Federal District in Manhattan with additional counts relating to money laundering and conspiracy” reports National Review.

Both McGonigal and Shestakov had “previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better,” Williams’ statement added.

McGonigal’s legal team announced their plans to enter a plea of not guilty before a federal court appearance. Seth DuCharme, head of McGonigal’s legal team old the New York Times “Charlie served the United States capably, effectively, for decades.”

“We have closely reviewed the accusations made by the government and we look forward to receiving discovery so we can get a view on what the evidence is upon which the government intends to rely” DuCharme added.

McGonigal was arrested at JFK Airport in New York City on Saturday upon returning from recent travels to Sri Lanka.

 

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