Mar 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New York AG to begin investigation into sexual harassment claims against Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo wears a jacket and speaks in front of a microphone

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFPvia Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James received a formal referral letter on Monday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office to begin an investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against the governor by two of his former aides.

Why it matters: The investigation will provide independent oversight after a lengthy back-and-forth between the offices on how the probe would operate. Findings from the review will be made public after the investigation is complete.

What they're saying: "This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously," James said in a statement Monday.

  • New York State employees have been directed to cooperate fully with the investigation, Beth Garvey, special counselor to Cuomo, said in a letter to James' office.

The big picture: Cuomo issued a lengthy statement on Sunday night, saying he "never inappropriately touched anybody" but acknowledged that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation."

  • Charlotte Bennett, a former health policy adviser and executive assistant to Cuomo, alleges that he asked her questions about romantic relationships that "she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship," the New York Times reports.
  • Lindsey Boylan, a former New York economic development official, alleges that Cuomo at one point gave her "an unsolicited kiss in his Manhattan office," per the Times.

Of note: Cuomo's administration has reportedly retained white-collar defense attorney Elkan Abramowitz, a former federal prosecutor, to handle the sexual harassment claims, as well as allegations that Cuomo's office covered up nursing home COVID-19 deaths, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Go deeper: Cuomo scandal snares Dems on #MeToo

Go deeper