Aug 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo attorneys push back on state AG's sexual harassment findings

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Attorneys for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Friday called into question the results of an independent investigation published by state Attorney General Letitia James' office this week.

Why it matters: Cuomo faces a criminal investigation in Albany after the report alleged he sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law.

Driving the news: A woman who accused Cuomo of groping her breast last year filed a criminal complaint Thursday with the Albany County Sheriff’s office.

  • It was the first known instance of an official report made directly by an alleged victim with a law enforcement agency over the governor's reported conduct

The report said Cuomo engaged in unwanted and inappropriate groping, kissing, hugging and comments that accusers called "deeply humiliating, uncomfortable, offensive, or inappropriate."

  • It also found that Cuomo and his staff took steps to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story.
  • Cuomo denied the allegations in the report in a taped response on Tuesday, saying he never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances, and he would not resign.

What they're saying: Paul Fishman, who represents New York's executive chamber, criticized James' office for not sending Cuomo's representatives a copy of the report before it was published, though state law did not entitle Cuomo's office to an advanced copy.

  • Fishman also denied that Cuomo and other members of the executive chamber attempted to retaliate against an accuser.
  • Rita Glavin, who represents Cuomo, said that there "has been no open minded fact finding in this case."
  • "What I do know, based on the limited information we've been given access to, is there are contrary facts and omissions from that report," Glavin said, adding that Cuomo's attorneys were not able to review transcripts of witness interviews during the investigation.

The big picture: District attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County are also investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in the report that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.

  • The New York State Assembly has requested evidence as part of its impeachment investigation into Cuomo, and his office said it would cooperate with the probe.
  • Dozens of prominent Democrats, including President Biden, have called on Cuomo to step down.
  • 63% of registered voters in New York who were polled in a recent survey said they believe that Cuomo should resign.

Go deeper: Aide who accused Cuomo of groping files criminal complaint

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