New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually assaulted 11 women and created a “hostile” work environment for women, a report released on Tuesday New York Attorney General Letitia James said.
The damaging findings of his citizen review into harassment allegations have sparked a political firestorm around Cuomo, who has already been a scandal-plagued few months for the governor.
President Joe Biden Said Cuomo should resign. New York legislators from both parties strongly condemned Cuomo’s conduct and are considering whether further action should be taken against the governor. Cuomo denied the allegations and showed no desire to resign.
Here’s what to know from the report and what to do next:
Investigators said they found a “pattern” of inappropriate behavior by Cuomo, including “unwanted” touching and comments of a “suggestive and sexual nature.”
All told, Cuomo harassed several women, both current and former staff members, and women outside his office also reported harassment by the governor, investigators said.
The report put forward the accounts of a total of 11 women, some of them detailing allegations that had never been made public before. Investigators said their claims were corroborated by interviews by others as well as contemporary evidence such as notes, emails and texts written shortly after the alleged harassment.
The report detailed a “toxic” workplace environment under Cuomo and said the environment overlooked his allegedly disturbing behavior. It also highlighted alleged instances of retaliation against the accusers.
“We also conclude that the culture of the Executive Chamber – one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the governor’s repeated flirting and gender-based remarks – contributes to situations that are sexual allow harassment to occur and continue,” the report said.
Reportedly, several women told investigators about unwanted touching by Cuomo. One of them, a state soldier who served on Cuomo’s protective detail, said that on one occasion, Cuomo ran his finger down his neck and back while in an elevator. According to the report, on another occasion, when she was holding the door for him, she moved her hand from his belly button to his right hip.
Another accuser, identified in the report as “Executive Assistant 1,” told investigators that Cuomo grabbed her buttocks during a hug and a photo. The report also details an allegation, first reported by the Albany Times Union, about an incident at the governor’s mansion in which Cuomo allegedly reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast. A separate accuser referred to in the report as a “state unit employee” said Cuomo held her hand, tapped and then grabbed her buttocks while they were at the September 2019 event, according to the report.
The report said a woman named Anna Ruch said Cuomo exposed a portion of her back with a cutout in her dress. Reportedly, when he grabbed her wrist to shake her hand, he replied, “Wow, you’re aggressive.” he was also photographed Cuomo looked uneasy with his hands on his face.
Many of the accusers told investigators that Cuomo made inappropriate remarks to her, including questions about her sexual history, comments about her appearance, and calling her “sweetheart” or “darling.”
In a broadcast response released shortly after the report was unveiled, Cuomo gave no indication that he planned to resign.
“I want you to know straight from me that I have never touched anyone inappropriately or had inappropriate sex,” Cuomo said. He spoke about his cooperation with the attorney general’s investigation, but he repeatedly suggested that it was partisan and politically tainted.
While he outright denied some of the conduct – such as the alleged groping at his governor’s mansion office – he claimed that other aspects of his behavior were described that the report was taken out of context. .
The governor’s office interspersed within his statement photos of Cuomo hugging, kissing and hugging various individuals
“I do kiss people on the forehead, I do people kiss on the cheeks, I do kiss people on the hands,” he said, claiming New York were going “the wrong way” with his “everyday interactions”. weaponized.
Cuomo claimed the “generational or cultural” approach he was still learning to understand, and vowed that “we are making a difference.”
An 85-page document in his office Tuesday was responding to allegations that also included photos of the governor hugging or kissing prominent political figures including Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The investigation — led by investigators tapped from outside James’s office — was launched earlier this year, and investigators spoke to 179 people, including New York State Troopers, state employees, and others, who served as the governor. Talked with “regularly”. The governor himself sat down for an interview, as did his brother Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor.
Investigators also reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence, including notes, emails and other communications commemorating the allegations.
At Tuesday’s press conference, the lead attorney in the investigation, Anne Clark, said her team found all 11 women to be credible, while noting the varying degrees of confirmation that supported their accounts.
CNN legal analyst Eli Honig said on CNN Newsroom, the evidence presented in the report was “overwhelming”..
“It’s really devastating,” Honig later said, “we haven’t heard anything from the governor, who came forward about the very well-supported allegations of retaliation against some of these women.”
Tuesday’s report was fatal, and Cuomo’s reaction – showing a video montage of the governor kissing and touching the faces of men and women, young and old – is sure to have made matters worse.
The political question is whether a defiant Cuomo can survive as his political allies disappear.
If he chooses to seek a fourth term next year, he could face a tough challenge in the Democratic primary. Attorney General James – who was once an ally of Cuomo and who oversaw Tuesday’s report – would be a formidable potential opponent. New York State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a former Cuomo employee, is also on a long list of potential challengers.
Cuomo also faces trouble with the state legislature, where a committee is conducting an impeachment test. State Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousin said in a statement that Cuomo “can no longer serve as governor.”
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Hasty said late Tuesday that Cuomo had “lost the confidence of the Assembly’s Democratic majority,” and “Can’t stay in office anymore.”
As Cuomo faltered in New York, National Democrats rushed to distance him.
Democratic U.S. Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement calling the report’s findings “seriously disturbing, unfair and completely unacceptable” and calling for Cuomo to resign in their march. repeated. Other New York lawmakers have similarly said a third-term governor should go—including Rep. accused of.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime ally of the Cuomo family, also said the governor should resign.
Biden’s announcement that Cuomo should resign is probably the last sign for Democrats to stay away from the New York governor.
At the press conference, James reiterated that his investigation was civil in nature, and that there would be no criminal action from the office that would follow. “Our work is done,” said James.
Still, investigators said Cuomo violated both state and federal law. Lawyer Clark, who led the investigation, pointed to the possibility of a civil lawsuit from the complainants. She also noted that the information was “fully documented” in the report and was available for other prosecutors to review to see if they were weighing further action.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares said in a statement that his office was “formally requesting investigation materials obtained by the AG’s office.”
“[W]E welcome any victim to contact our office with additional information,” Soares said.
CNN’s Mark Morales contributed to this report.