Cuomo urged to resign after probe finds he harassed 11 women

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By MICHAEL R. SISAK and MARINA VILLENEUVE

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced mounting unit Tuesday to resign, including from President Joe Biden and different onetime Democratic allies, aft an probe recovered helium sexually harassed astir a twelve women and worked to retaliate against 1 of his accusers.

“I deliberation helium should resign,” Biden told reporters Tuesday, echoing the sentiments of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York’s U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, each Democrats.

The person of the authorities assembly, which has the powerfulness to bring impeachment charges against Cuomo, said it was wide that the politician could nary longer stay successful office. Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said helium would determination to implicit an impeachment enquiry “as rapidly arsenic possible.”

The politician remained defiant, saying successful a taped effect to the findings that “the facts are overmuch antithetic than what has been portrayed” and that helium “never touched anyone inappropriately oregon made inappropriate intersexual advances.”

The astir five-month investigation, overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James and led by 2 extracurricular lawyers, concluded that 11 women — successful and retired of authorities authorities — who said that Cuomo had touched them inappropriately, commented connected their quality oregon made suggestive comments astir their enactment lives were telling the truth.

Those accusers included an adjutant who said Cuomo groped her bosom astatine the governor’s mansion and a authorities trooper connected his information detail, who said helium ran his manus oregon fingers crossed her tummy and her back.

Anne Clark, who led the probe with erstwhile U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, said the allegations were corroborated to varying degrees, including by different witnesses and contemporaneous substance messages.

“These interviews and pieces of grounds revealed a profoundly disturbing yet wide picture: Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed existent and erstwhile authorities employees successful usurpation of national and authorities laws,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said astatine a property league connected Tuesday.

Many of the women said they feared retaliation if they reported the governor’s behavior, investigators said. On astatine slightest 1 occasion, the probe found, Cuomo’s unit took enactment “intended to discredit and disparage” an accuser — Lindsey Boylan, the archetypal erstwhile worker to publically impeach him of wrongdoing — including leaking confidential unit files and drafting a missive attacking her credibility.

The investigation’s findings, elaborate successful a 165-page nationalist report, crook up the unit connected the 63-year-old governor, who conscionable a twelvemonth agone was wide hailed for his dependable enactment during the darkest days of the COVID-19 crisis, adjacent penning a publication astir it.

Since then, he’s seen his lasting crumble with a drumbeat of harassment allegations, questions successful a separate, ongoing enquiry into whether authorities resources went into penning the book, and the find that his medication concealed the existent fig of nursing location deaths during the outbreak.

The revelations, astir of which were initially made nationalist past winter, led to a chorus of calls for Cuomo’s resignation from galore apical elected Democrats successful New York. Schumer and Gillibrand said the study lone reinforces the telephone for his resignation they archetypal made past March.

“No elected authoritative is supra the law. The radical of New York merit amended enactment successful the governor’s office. We proceed to judge that the Governor should resign,” they said successful a associated statement.

While James concluded the probe without referring the lawsuit to prosecutors for imaginable transgression charges, section authorities could usage its grounds and findings to equine their ain cases. Albany District Attorney David Soares said helium would petition materials from James’ bureau and welcomed victims to interaction his office.

The investigation’s findings are crucial, according to Heastie, to expediting the ongoing authorities Assembly enquiry into whether determination are grounds to impeach Cuomo, who has been raising wealth for a imaginable 4th term. The Assembly hired its ain ineligible squad to analyse myriad allegations regarding harassment, his book, nursing homes and peculiar entree to COVID-19 testing.

Several Cuomo accusers demanded swifter action, calling connected the politician to permission bureau immediately. Some Democratic and Republican authorities lawmakers joined them, on with erstwhile Cuomo allies similar region executives and leaders of left-leaning governmental groups.

Lt. Gov Kathy Hochul, who would win Cuomo if helium is removed oregon resigns, called the behaviour elaborate successful the study “repulsive and unlawful behavior.”

In his taped response, Cuomo apologized to 2 accusers: Charlotte Bennett, who said the politician asked if she was unfastened to enactment with an older antheral aft she confided successful him that she had been a unfortunate of intersexual assault, and a pistillate helium kissed astatine a wedding — an incidental reported successful a front-page communicative successful The New York Times. Cuomo said helium was hiring an adept to betterment intersexual harassment grooming for authorities employees, including the governor.

But helium denied different allegations arsenic fabricated and lashed retired astatine the investigative process, saying it was rife with “politics and bias.” He explained that he’s been physically embracing radical his full life, that his parent and begetter — erstwhile Gov. Mario Cuomo — had done the aforesaid and that the motion was meant to “convey warmth.”

Cuomo’s lawyer issued a written rebuttal to the investigation’s findings, arguing successful astir cases that superior allegations, similar the alleged groping, didn’t happen, oregon that his actions were misconstrued.

“For those who are utilizing this infinitesimal to people governmental points oregon question publicity oregon idiosyncratic gain. I accidental they really discredit the morganatic intersexual harassment victims that the instrumentality was designed to protect,” Cuomo said.

Bennett called the governor’s apology to her “meaningless.”

“If helium were sorry, helium would measurement down. That’s however accountability works,” she told The Associated Press. “I don’t judge helium volition resign. I deliberation it’s the speaker’s occupation present to statesman impeachment proceedings.”

The study detailed, for the archetypal time, the allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed the authorities trooper. It said that successful summation to touching the trooper, Cuomo kissed her connected the cheek, asked for her assistance successful uncovering a woman and asked wherefore she didn’t deterioration a dress.

The study besides included an allegation from a pistillate who worked for an vigor institution who said Cuomo touched her thorax astatine an event. The pistillate said Cuomo ran his fingers crossed the lettering connected her shirt, speechmaking the sanction of her institution aloud. Then helium leaned successful and said: “I’m going to accidental I spot a spider connected your shoulder,” and brushed his manus successful betwixt her enarthrosis and breasts, the study said.

“These brave women stepped guardant to talk information to powerfulness and, successful doing so, they expressed religion successful the content that though the politician whitethorn beryllium powerful, the information is adjacent much so,” Kim said astatine the property conference.

Cuomo faced aggregate allegations past winter, starting with Boylan, who said Cuomo kissed her connected the lips aft a gathering successful his bureau and “would spell retired of his mode to interaction maine connected my little back, arms and legs.”

After Boylan went public, Cuomo’s unit released unit memos to the media revealing that she near the medication aft being confronted astir complaints she belittled and yelled astatine her staff. Boylan has said the leak was “an effort to smear me.”

In an 11-hour interrogation with investigators past month, Cuomo admitted to definite behaviour portion denying different allegations, investigators said. For example, Clark said, helium conceded asking Bennett whether she had been progressive with older men and said helium whitethorn person kissed the authorities trooper astatine an lawsuit but denied touching her.

Asked astir an allegation that helium grabbed a woman’s bosom astatine the enforcement mansion, according to the report, Cuomo responded: “I would person to suffer my caput to bash specified a thing” to a pistillate helium hardly knew, with aggregate unit members around.

The probe, which progressive interviews with 179 radical including the politician himself, besides recovered that Cuomo’s medication was a hostile enactment situation “rife with fearfulness and intimidation.”

Cuomo ever denied inappropriate touching, but helium initially said helium was atrocious if his behaviour with women was “misinterpreted arsenic unwanted flirtation.” He got much combative successful caller months, saying helium did thing wrong.

He has besides questioned the neutrality of the lawyers starring the probe. Kim was progressive successful erstwhile investigations of corruption by radical successful Cuomo’s administration.

New York authorities regulations accidental intersexual harassment includes unwelcome behaviour of a intersexual quality — from unwanted flirtation to intersexual jokes — that creates an violative enactment environment, careless of a perpetrator’s intent.

Cuomo championed a landmark 2019 authorities instrumentality that made it easier for intersexual harassment victims to beryllium their lawsuit successful court. Alleged victims nary longer person to conscionable the precocious barroom of proving intersexual harassment is “severe and pervasive.”

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.

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