An investigation by the New York State Attorney’s Office today (Tuesday) found that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed many women, operated a “toxic work environment” and violated a string of state and federal laws. Cuomo himself denied the allegations and made it clear that he did not intend to resign.
A number of women have accused 63-year-old Cuomo of sexual harassment in late February, following which state prosecutor Letita James appointed two outside attorneys – former prosecutor John H. Kim, Van Clark, Labor Attorney – to test the allegations.
In the last four months, the investigators have interviewed 179 witnesses and examined tens of thousands of documents, and today the investigation report, which is spread over 165 pages, was published. According to the report, Cuomo sexually harassed many women on his staff, other state administration workers, including a policewoman, and civilians, when he touched them against their will, kissed them and misbehaved while violating state and federal laws.
James said at the news conference that Cuomo had activated “a toxic and hostile work environment that allowed harassment to occur.” Investigators also found that Cuomo and his staff tried to respond against one of the women who complained about the governor. Lindsay Boylen, a former senior in economic development, claimed that Cuomo harassed her several times between 2016 and 2018, when among other things he kissed her without her consent and asked her to play naked poker with him while they were on his private plane.
“The report reveals a disturbing but clear picture,” the plaintiff said. “Conduct that harms the fabric and character of our state government and illuminates the injustice that may be present at the highest levels of government.”
Cuomo, who has been in office for ten years and announced his intention to run for a fourth term next year, vehemently denied the allegations. “I have never touched anyone inappropriately,” he said in a videotaped message. “It’s not who I am. And I have never been like that. The facts are very different from what has been described.”
Cuomo is considered one of the stars of the Democratic Party and was praised for his performance during the peak of the Corona crisis last year with daily TV updates. But the allegations of harassment, along with the allegations that he hid the true numbers of victims in nursing homes increased the pressure on him. The Democratic Party has also begun to shake off the governor and the current report is expected to speed up proceedings to oust him.