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New York Gov. Cuomo apologizes after sexual harassment accusations
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is below hearth after two former aides went public with sexual harassment claims in opposition to him.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose political future seemed golden 11 months in the past, is now preventing for survival after two former aides accused him of sexual harassment, a 3rd girl accused him of creating an undesirable advance and his administration acknowledged withholding information on COVID-19 nursing residence deaths.
The New York governor, now in his third time period, faces investigations into each scandals and a rising checklist of critics that features Republicans in addition to a lot of his fellow Democrats. He had resisted ceding management of the sexual harassment inquiry, however he relented below stress and referred the matter to New York Lawyer Common Letitia James on Sunday.
The identical day, he issued a public apology wherein he stated was “really sorry” if “a few of the issues I’ve stated have been misinterpreted as an undesirable flirtation.”
Here is a rundown of the allegations in opposition to Cuomo, how he has responded and the place the investigations stand.
First accuser: Lindsey Boylan
Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s former deputy secretary of financial growth and particular adviser, wrote a 1,700-word put up on the web site Medium final week wherein she stated she was subjected to undesirable advances by Cuomo throughout her practically two years working for the administration.
She stated that on one event, the governor requested her if she needed to play “strip poker” whereas they have been touring on a state-owned airplane, and on one other, he gave her an undesirable kiss on the lips as she was leaving his workplace.
Boylan, 36, first made the allegations on Twitter in December, however the story gained little nationwide consideration on the time amid then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to problem the outcomes of the Nov. 3 election.
Second accuser: Charlotte Bennett
In her Medium put up, Boylan alleged Cuomo had “created a tradition inside his administration the place sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it’s not solely condoned however anticipated.” And on Saturday, a second accuser got here ahead to assist that characterization.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, a former aide who left the Cuomo administration in November, tweeted, “For these questioning what it’s prefer to work for the Cuomo admin, learn @LindseyBoylan’s story.”
In a narrative that ran Saturday, Bennett informed The New York Occasions that Cuomo, 63, had made her uncomfortable with questions on her intercourse life, whether or not she would think about courting an older man and a remark that he could be keen to have a relationship “with anybody above the age of twenty-two.”
“I understood that the governor needed to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett informed The Occasions.
Third accuser: Anna Ruch
Thirty-three-year-old Ruch stated Cuomo made an undesirable advance at a New York Metropolis wedding ceremony in September 2019, the primary time she had met him.
She informed The New York Occasions on Monday that Cuomo positioned his hand on her decrease again, which was uncovered. She then eliminated his hand, she stated, and Cuomo grabbed her face with each palms and requested if he might kiss her. She then pulled away.
“I used to be so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch informed the Occasions, which included a photograph of the second Cuomo had his palms on Ruch’s face in its reporting. “I turned my head away and didn’t have phrases in that second.”
Cuomo’s preliminary responses to harassment allegations
When Boylan first got here ahead in December, Cuomo stated that “the tweets have been merely not true.”
“Look, I fought for and I consider a lady has a proper to return ahead and categorical her opinion and categorical points and considerations that she has, nevertheless it’s simply not true,” he stated.
The governor’s workplace repeated his denial after Boylan’s put up on Medium final week and launched an announcement from 4 present and former aides who stated they’d have been on the October 2017 flight the place Cuomo allegedly introduced up strip poker.
“We have been on every of those October flights and this dialog didn’t occur,” they stated.
After Bennett spoke to The Occasions, Cuomo stated in an announcement: “I by no means made advances towards Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to behave in any method that was inappropriate. The very last thing I might ever have needed was to make her really feel any of the issues which might be being reported.”
Cuomo apologizes for ‘misinterpreted’ feedback
On Sunday, Cuomo apologized for any habits that offended anybody, with out addressing any particular claims in opposition to him apart from a obscure reference to questions that “have been raised about a few of my previous interactions with individuals within the workplace.”
“At work typically I feel I’m being playful and make jokes that I feel are humorous. I do, now and again, tease individuals in what I feel is an effective natured method. I do it in public and in non-public. You will have seen me do it at briefings lots of of instances,” Cuomo stated in his assertion. “I’ve teased individuals about their private lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I imply no offense and solely try so as to add some levity and banter to what’s a really severe enterprise.
Cuomo stated he now realized that he “could have been insensitive or too private and that a few of my feedback, given my place, made others really feel in methods I by no means meant.”
“I acknowledge a few of the issues I’ve stated have been misinterpreted as an undesirable flirtation. To the extent anybody felt that method, I’m really sorry about that,” he stated.
Extra: As scandals engulf Andrew Cuomo, candidates eye 2022 run for governor
‘That is not an apology’
Many discovered the governor’s effort to apologize missing, together with Bennett, who criticized his apology on Monday.
“The governor has refused to acknowledge or take accountability for his predatory habits,” Bennett stated by means of her legal professional.
“As we all know, abusers — notably these with super quantities of energy — are sometimes repeat offenders who interact in manipulative techniques to decrease allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing and escape penalties,” she stated.
New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio stated that along with his assertion, Cuomo seemed as if he was “letting himself off the hook.”
“That’s not an apology,” de Blasio stated in a information convention Monday, including that Cuomo “appeared to be saying he was simply kidding round.”
“Sexual harassment is just not humorous,” he stated.
Mayor de Blasio: Sexual harassment ‘not humorous’
New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio says Governor Andrew Cuomo must take the allegations of sexual harrassment made in opposition to him severely.(March 1)
Democratic state Sen. Mike Gianaris stated that fairly than apologize, Cuomo gave the impression to be “shifting the blame onto the survivors.”
“There is a massive distinction between ‘I am sorry should you have been offended by what I did’ and ‘I am sorry for what I did,’” Gianaris informed NY1.
NY legal professional normal to select impartial investigator
Cuomo initially resisted calls to refer the sexual harassment allegations to James so the legal professional normal might grant an impartial investigator subpoena energy. As an alternative, he proposed or not it’s directed by former U.S. District Choose Barbara Jones, who as soon as labored as a companion in a regulation agency with certainly one of Cuomo’s closest advisers.
The proposal was met with accusations that Cuomo was making an attempt to regulate the investigation, which state and federal lawmakers insisted ought to be impartial. The White Home even weighed in, with press secretary Jen Psaki telling CNN “there ought to be an impartial evaluate wanting into these allegations.”
Cuomo subsequent proposed the investigator be collectively chosen by James and Chief Choose Janet DiFiore, whom he appointed. However after James flatly rejected the concept and criticism mounted, Cuomo agreed to present James sole authority to pick out who will conduct the probe.
COVID-19 nursing residence deaths
Cuomo’s administration is already going through a federal investigation for its dealing with of COVID-19 in nursing houses earlier than the decision for an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.
The federal investigation was launched after prime aide Melissa DeRosa acknowledged holding again key loss of life information and knowledge from lawmakers and the general public after receiving an inquiry from the U.S. Division of Justice final 12 months.
Just below a 12 months in the past, Cuomo’s day by day press briefings through the first weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak within the U.S. introduced requires him to launch a late entry into the crowded Democratic presidential main.
However the state’s acknowledged undercounting of nursing residence deaths from the coronavirus and the scrutiny over an order March 25 to permit nursing residence residents in hospitals to return residence with COVID-19 has put his political future in jeopardy.
Extra: Cuomo was a nationwide star for COVID response. Nursing residence deaths upended that.
The political fallout
Final April, a Siena Faculty ballot put Cuomo’s job efficiency ranking at a excessive of 71% constructive to twenty-eight% damaging.
Final week, a Marist Faculty ballot confirmed 49% of New Yorkers approve of the job Cuomo is doing as governor, and 44% say they do not approve.
That was earlier than the newest sexual harassment allegations have been revealed.
Gianaris, the No. 2 Democrat within the New York Senate, informed NY1 on Monday that amid the scandals roiling his administration, “whether or not or not the governor can proceed is an open query.”
Cuomo has indicated he may search a fourth time period as governor. However now, not solely is his capacity to win one other time period in query, however he additionally faces some calls from inside his personal celebration for his resignation or even impeachment.
“You’re a monster, and it’s time so that you can go. Now,” tweeted Democratic state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi on Saturday.
Even earlier than the sexual harassment allegations made headlines, Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim, who says Cuomo threatened to destroy his profession over his criticism of the nursing residence deaths, wrote an op-ed for Newsweek on Feb. 22 titled “It is Time to Impeach Andrew Cuomo.”
Contributing: Joseph Spector and Jon Campbell, USA TODAY Community’s New York State Group