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The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Sunday that she has not accepted a statement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offering that she and the chief judge of New York’s Court of Appeals appoint an attorney to investigate the sexual harassment claims against him from at least two former female members of his administration.

“To clarify, I do not accept the governor’s proposal,” James said in a statement. “The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral.”

Cuomo’s office released a statement earlier on Sunday asking James and Janet DiFiore, chief judge of New York’s Court of Appeals, to jointly appoint an independent lawyer to investigate the harassment allegations from Lindsey Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, and Charlotte Bennett, another former aide to the governor.

James and DiFiore should jointly select “an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report,” said Beth Garvey, special counsel to the governor.

That public report would be exclusively controlled by the attorney conducting the review, Garvey said.

James on Sunday called on Cuomo, a third term Democrat, to issue an executive order putting her exclusively in charge of the probe, saying it would empower her to issue subpoenas, enforceable in court.

“While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law,” James said in a statement. “The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.”

Boylan, a Democrat running for Manhattan borough president, in a post published on the website Medium last week, accused Cuomo of making inappropriate remarks, and allegedly touching and kissing her without consent. She said he would go out of his way to “touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs,” compare her to one of his rumored former girlfriends, and once suggested that they should “play strip poker” on a flight from an event in October 2017.

Bennett, a former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo, accused the governor of sexually harassing her, including asking inappropriate questions.

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“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the New York Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

Cuomo’s office has denied the allegations from both Boylan and Bennett. However, the Democratic governor released a statement on Sunday acknowledging that some of his interactions with women “may have been insensitive or too personal.”

The statement maintained that Cuomo has “never inappropriately touched anybody” and said the office would cooperate with an investigation.

“I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that,” Cuomo said.

“To be clear, I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.”

James said on Twitter that her office expects “to receive a referral with subpoena power to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, in line with our demands and New York state law. The referral would be made solely to the attorney general’s office.”

“This is not a responsibility we take lightly,” James added. “We will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office, and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation.”

The White House has called on Cuomo to face an “independent review” over the sexual harassment allegations. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the allegations as “serious.”

“It was hard to read that story, as a woman,” Psaki said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The 63-year-old governor is facing increasing calls to resign following the sexual harassment allegations, that come at a time when he is facing intense scrutiny over how his state handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Epoch Times)

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Crime

New Cuomo accuser alleges she was forcibly kissed, claims to have evidence

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The woman alleges governor kissed her in “a highly sexual manner.”

Aninth woman has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, alleging that the Democrat grabbed her face and kissed her without her consent.

But this allegation is different: The woman, Sherry Vill, a 55-year-old married mother of three, has photographic evidence.

Vill says the incident occurred while the governor was “touring her flood-damaged home in 2017 – saying he did so in a ‘highly sexual manner,’ ” The New York Post reported.

In a press conference Monday, Vill was accompanied by her lawyer, Gloria Allred, who displayed a photo of the kiss.

Vill, whose home was damaged by the flood, recounted the incident, saying she invited Cuomo in.

“That’s when the governor looked at me, approached me, took my hand and pulled me to him,” Vill said. “He leaned down over me and kissed my cheek. I was holding my small dog in my arms in my arms and I thought he was going to pet my dog. But instead he went to squeeze between the dog … and kiss me on the other cheek in what I felt was a highly sexual manner.”

Cuomo sought to explain himself, she said. “He said, ‘That’s what Italians do, kiss both cheeks,’ “Vill said. “I felt shocked, and didn’t understand what had just happened. But I knew I felt embarrassed and weird about the kissing. I am Italian, and in my family, family members kiss. Strangers do not kiss.”

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On his way out, Cuomo “”stopped, he turned to me and said, ‘You are beautiful,’ ” Vill said.

Earlier this month, Anna Ruch, a former Biden 2020 campaign worker, told The New York Times that the governor made unwanted sexual advances toward her after they met at a wedding in New York City in 2019.

She also accused Cuomo, 63, of kissing her without her permission, even as she tried to pull away. Ruch said the encounter left her “confused and shocked and embarrassed.”

Another accuser, Charlotte Bennett, a former Cuomo aide, alleges that the governor inquired about her sex life and asked her whether she would be amenable to a relationship with an older man.

And another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo “made inappropriate comments about her appearance, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet,” the Associated Press reported.

Five more women have made similar allegations. The eighth woman to accuse Cuomo said the governor groped her last year at the Executive Mansion after she had called there to do some work. She said she was alone with the governor in the mansion when he “closed the door and allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her,” a source told the Albany Times Union.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Responds After Biden Weighs In on Allegations

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday responded to President Joe Biden’s remarks regarding the sexual assault allegations against him.

Asked in an interview with ABC News whether Cuomo should step down if the investigation finds the allegations are true, Biden said: “Yes. I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”

In response to Biden’s comments, Cuomo said “the president said there should be a review. I agree with him on that.”

Biden stopped short of asking Cuomo to resign immediately, noting that an investigation to determine the veracity of the sexual assault allegations is underway.

“There should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true,” Biden added. “That’s what’s going on now.”

The 63-year-old Cuomo faces allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from at least seven women, including former aides, and is under pressure from disclosures that his administration withheld the number of nursing home residents killed in New York state by COVID-19.

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The White House said on Monday that Biden finds the developments regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo to be troubling, and the investigation into them should be quick and thorough.

New York state Attorney General Letitia James last week named a team of outside lawyers, one of them a former federal prosecutor, to lead an investigation into accusations against Cuomo.

New York’s two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, last week urged Cuomo—a fellow Democrat—to resign, saying he had “lost the confidence” of New Yorkers.

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Democrats

VIDEO: Will Biden call for Gov. Cuomo’s resignation?

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Axios national political reporter Jonathan Swan says President Biden’s silence on the New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo scandal becomes ‘more conspicuous’ the more Democrats call for his resignation.

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