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New York Governor Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, report finds; he vows not to resign

WorldAug 03, 2021 09:06PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks while making an announcement during a news conference at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York, U.S., May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton 2/2

By Jonathan Allen and Nathan Layne

NEW YORK (Reuters) -New York Governor Andrew Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to 11 women in violation of the law, the state's attorney general said on Tuesday, prompting local prosecutors to launch a criminal investigation and reigniting calls for him to resign or be impeached.

The findings of a five-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment found the governor created a "toxic" workplace and that his office illegally retaliated against the first accuser to go public.

After state Attorney General Letitia James unveiled the probe's conclusions, President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats called on the party's one-time star to resign.

But in a video statement https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-responds-independent-reviewer-report issued after James' briefing, Cuomo, 63, made clear he had no plans to do so and denied he had acted inappropriately.

"The facts are much different than what has been portrayed," Cuomo said.

A third-term Democratic governor who has served in the post since 2011, Cuomo called the findings inaccurate and unfair. He said his accusers had misinterpreted his words, gestures and demeanor, insisting his behavior was always intended to convey warmth to the women.

The investigation marked a swift fall for a governor who became a popular national figure in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic by presenting himself as an authoritative presence in daily news conferences.

The findings, detailed in a scathing 168-page report https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2021.08.03_nyag_-_investigative_report.pdf, could deal a devastating blow to Cuomo https://www.reuters.com/world/us/comforter-in-chief-persona-non-grata-cuomos-stunning-fall-2021-08-03 - once seen as a possible presidential candidate and a former U.S. housing secretary under President Bill Clinton- and hinder his administration.

"What this investigation revealed was a disturbing pattern of conduct by the governor of the great state of New York," said James, also a Democrat. "These 11 women were in a hostile and toxic work environment.

Biden told reporters at the White House: "I think he should resign."

"I'm sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent. But apparently the attorney general decided there were things that weren't," Biden said.

The speaker of the Democratic-controlled New York Assembly said an impeachment investigation would conclude "as quickly as possible" after receiving evidence from James' probe.

The civil investigation found the actions of Cuomo and his senior advisers "violated multiple state and federal laws," James' office said, but she did not pursue criminal charges.

After the report was published, the district attorney for Albany County, David Soares, announced his office had opened a investigation to see if any conduct rose to the level of a crime. Albany County is home to the city of Albany, the New York state capital.

Soares also requested evidence from the probe and welcomed "any victim" to come forward.

"CLIMATE OF FEAR"

Investigators spoke to 179 people, James said. The probe revealed a "climate of fear" in which Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, many of them young, she said.

While many of the accusations were previously known, investigators at the briefing revealed some new details based on what Cuomo's accusers told them.

Anne Clark, one of the two lawyers who ran the inquiry, said one of the women Cuomo targeted was a state trooper. The governor stood behind her in an elevator and "ran his finger from her neck down her spine and said, 'Hey you.'" The trooper, according to Clark, said Cuomo inappropriately touched her from "her chest to her privates."

Cuomo, a divorced father of three adult daughters, said he was sorry if his behavior was misunderstood by his accusers. He also said he would "not be distracted" from his work battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," Cuomo said in the video statement. "I am 63 years old. I've lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am. And that's not who I have ever been."

"RIFE WITH BULLYING"

James herself is a rising star in the Democratic Party who legally challenged the National Rifle Association in the state after catapulting from New York City public advocate to attorney general in 2018.

She named two veteran outside attorneys to run the investigation: Joon Kim, a former federal prosecutor and acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, and Clark, an employment lawyer with experience in sexual harassment cases.

Kim said Cuomo's workplace was "rife with bullying, fear and intimidation" in which crossing him or his senior staff meant you would be "written off, cast aside or worse."

The report rejected Cuomo's suggestions that his conduct was an innocent reflection of the affectionate Italian-American culture in which he was raised. Investigators found little credibility in his "blanket denials and lack of recollection as to specific incidents."

"What these witnesses - and many others - described is not just old-fashioned, affectionate behavior - it was sexual harassment," the report concluded.

Rita Glavin, a lawyer defending Cuomo against the sexual harassment complaints, released a lengthy "position statement" https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2021-08/8.3.21_Position_Statement_of_Governor_Cuomo.pdf responding to the report, which she said "purposefully omits key evidence." Glavin accused James of bias.

Glavin's statement included pages of photographs of Cuomo embracing or kissing prominent political figures, including Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore. It also included multiple photographs of Cuomo kissing his late father, Mario Cuomo, who also served as governor of New York.

New York Governor Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, report finds; he vows not to resign
 

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Comments (14)
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Aug 04, 2021 12:39AM ET
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Time for this guy to finally resign. Long overdue.
one two
one two Aug 04, 2021 12:39AM ET
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silence male feminist you are just like him
Matt Goodwin
Matt Goodwin Aug 04, 2021 12:39AM ET
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Long overdue i agree. The reason its long overdue is because democrats and big media like CNN continuously gave him a pass…. So its a little late for democrats to play the good guy.
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Aug 03, 2021 9:45PM ET
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In Oklahoma the law is Eat, Drink, and be married. Unmarried hungry governor will eat ...
Tyrone Jackson
Tyrone Jackson Aug 03, 2021 8:49PM ET
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At 63 , a little touch here a little rub there. Haha Just like Billy bob Clinton. It’s no big dealio
Jay Jung
Jay Jung Aug 03, 2021 7:26PM ET
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Arrest him. He is a criminal.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Aug 03, 2021 7:05PM ET
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Mario Cuomo raised 2 crooked sons.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Aug 03, 2021 7:04PM ET
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Me comment: There's more it's like a criminal when they get busted . Can you imagine what they didn't get caught doing. I knew Mario Cuomo and alot of Italian councilman in Queens New York that's one corrupt family.
Me comment
Me comment Aug 03, 2021 5:36PM ET
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it still is less than the 18 trump sexually assaulted and did pay any of them off to not talk like trump did.
Jamie Kent
Jamie Kent Aug 03, 2021 5:36PM ET
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proof? links?
divad mocihc
9divaD Aug 03, 2021 5:36PM ET
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You are justifying heinous behavior by pointing out more quantity of bad behavior?
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Aug 03, 2021 5:36PM ET
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So what? What does that even matter?
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Aug 03, 2021 5:30PM ET
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Not bad/ for New York ??
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Aug 03, 2021 1:16PM ET
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he just kissed, he didn't rap e any. so he can sing and get away
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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Democratic party is full of hypocrites. Some of the worst sexual offenders have come out of the hypocrite Democratic party.
Show previous replies (1)
Jamie Kent
Jamie Kent Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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What about Joe Biden? He literally *****a woman (fingers count, it's still penetration); not to mention all the inappropriate hair sniffing, rubbing, and inappropriate comments to minors.
Nathan Thurai
Nathan Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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Your president like grabbing women by ******and got them to pee on them 🤣
Jamie Kent
Jamie Kent Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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Its funny because Biden is actually all the things they tried to paint trump to be. Most Democrat rhetoric is just projection. Joe is a literal rap ist and rac ist with a thing for little kids....but sure; orange man bad
Jamie Kent
Jamie Kent Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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I didnt even like trump. I liked his policy and his economy, but mostly disliked the left's behavior over the past 4 years. I voted twice for obama, but after 8 years it was pretty clear that the economy under modern democrats was no good.
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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Jamie Kent suuuure lmao so original with your “enlightened centrism”
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Aug 03, 2021 1:15PM ET
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he just kissed, he didn't rap e any. so he can sing and get away
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Aug 03, 2021 12:54PM ET
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Well, if Reuters wrote this, the guy is s c r e w e d!!!
Stuart McWhirter
Stuart McWhirter Aug 03, 2021 12:51PM ET
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lock him up
Me comment
Me comment Aug 03, 2021 12:17PM ET
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Charge him if he did.
 
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