New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is responding on Tuesday to an explosive report from the state Attorney General’s office that found he sexually harassed multiple current and former staffers, as well as women who did not work for his administration. New York Attorney Generalearlier Tuesday and said the governor “violated federal and state law.”
She said the investigation found a “hostile” and “unsafe” work environment in which women, including a state trooper assigned to the governor’s detail, described “inappropriate groping” and sexual harassment.
James called the 11 women who came forward “heroic.”
“I am inspired by the women who came forward, but more importantly I believe them, and I thank them for their bravery,” James said.
The investigation was civil in nature, but investigator Anne Clark noted that state and federal prosecutors are free to review all the allegations included in the report. She added that one allegation was referred by the governor’s Executive Chamber to police in Albany, New York.
Cuomo hasfor some of his behavior, saying during a press conference in March that he was “embarrassed” for the “pain I’ve caused.”
“I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. “I never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone pain. I feel terrible that these people felt uncomfortable, felt hurt, felt pain from the interactions, and I’m embarrassed by it, and I feel bad from it.”
Cuomo has said his actions were misinterpreted, and his behavior is his way “of doing friendly banter.”
The governor also recently criticized the investigators chosen by James to lead the probe, questioning their independence during a press conference on July 26 and saying, “Look at who the independent investigators are. Do a little history, go to Google, Google the independent reviewers and tell me what you see.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joon Kim and Anne Clark were selected by James to lead the probe. As a federal prosecutor, Kim led a prosecution against Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who was sentenced to six years in prison after he was convicted on corruption charges in 2018. Clark a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., specializing in employment law, and previously worked at Legal Momentum, a defense fund for women that often takes on cases involving workplace equality and gender discrimination.