New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s defense is crumbling around him. It all started with the damning report on the nursing home deaths and his secretary admitting they fudged the death numbers.
These sexual harassment and intimidation allegations are horrific. However, we must not forget those who died because of Cuomo’s awful nursing home order. They died due to his reckless behavior. They died alone. Then he lied about it. He keeps lying about it.
We covered Lindsey Boylan twice. She made the accusations in December and repeated them last week in a post on Medium.
Charlotte Bennett came out this weekend along with Lindsey Nielsen.
This is how Cuomo responded:
“Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office,” Cuomo began in a press release on Sunday. “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
“At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good-natured way,” the governor explained. “I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
Cuomo continued, “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 denied he touched or propositioned anyone for sex. He also slammed officials who allegedly “reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward.”
AG Leticia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James spent Sunday going back-and-forth with Cuomo.
“The Governor’s office wants a thorough and independent review that is above reproach and beyond political interference,” announced Cuomo’s office. “Therefore the Governor’s office has asked Attorney General Tish James to select a qualified private lawyer to do an independent review of allegations of sexual harassment. The Governor’s office will voluntarily cooperate fully.”
James said no and did not accept Cuomo’s statement:
“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.”
The statement on the governor’s proposal came after she asked Cuomo’s office to issue a referral authorizing an independent investigation into the allegations, citing state law. Cuomo’s office issued a response saying Cuomo will “leave all decisions concerning the investigation to be made in the discretion of the independent counsel selected by the Attorney General” and Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of New York’s Court of Appeals, who was appointed by Cuomo.
“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. “The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.”
New York Lawmakers
Democrat State Sen. Todd Kaminsky wants to “introduce legislation eliminating the need for James’ office to obtain a referral to begin an investigation.” Sen. Liz Krueger, also a Democrat, wants similar legislation.
Assemblyman Mike Lawler shared his legislation on Twitter, which would “amend Section 63 of the exec law.”
This action would give James “the authority to investigate all allegations of sexual harassment or assault by any state official, legislator, or employee.”
Lawler asked Krueger and Sen. Alessandra Biaggi to sponsor it in the senate.