New York Governor Cuomo Faces Impeachment If He Does Not Resign
By Dami Igbinyemi
A long-awaited report issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James into several harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo went public yesterday. The four-month investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employee as well as several women outside of state government.
“Specifically, we find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women,” New York Attorney General James said.
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo was the first woman to accuse the governor of sexual harassment and kissing her against her will in December 2020. She tweeted “Yes [Cuomo] sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks, or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.” Cuomo denied the accusation at the time.
Between December 13 and March 1 when the investigation was launched, 2 more accusers came forward to the New York Times; Charlotte Bennett a former staff and Anna Ruch. The next day, Cuomo faced calls to resign by six Democratic state lawmakers and by March 11, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized an impeachment investigation.
At the news conference yesterday, Employment Discrimination attorney Anne Clark, one of the investigators leading the investigation presented the findings from the report. She also stated that Cuomo met with investigators for 11 hours in July and offered a mixture of denials and admissions. “There are some incidents he admitted to but had a different interpretation of,” Clark said, “and there were other things that he denied or said he didn’t recall.”
The investigators spoke to 179 people including the governor’s brother Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor, reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence, including notes, emails, and other communications supporting the allegations. The investigation found all 11 women’s claims against Cuomo credible.
Cuomo responded in a broadcast as well as released an 85-page document not long after the report was released, where he continued to deny the accusation and refused to resign. “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said. “I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am. And that’s not who I have ever been.” He then went on to say that some of his behaviours from the report were taken out of context. “I do kiss people on the forehead, I do kiss people on the cheeks, I do kiss people on the hand,” he said.
The demand for Cuomo’s resignation came from multiple Democrats including US Senator Kristen Gillibrand, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and President Biden. “I think he should resign,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for a fact. I have not read all that data.”