Cuomo investigation underway

"Andrew Cuomo" by zrs_one is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

By Elias Miller
Boston University News Service

Investigators appointed by New York’s state attorney general interviewed former gubernatorial aide Charlotte Bennett on Monday, a key witness in the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Over the course of four hours, they reviewed more than 100 pages of Bennett’s allegations. Soon after, Debra Katz, Bennett’s lawyer, released a statement on Monday with a new detail of Cuomo’s alleged harassment. 

“One piece of new information that came to light today was the Governor’s preoccupation with his hand size and what the large size of his hands indicated to Charlotte and other members of his staff,” Katz wrote. 

Katz provided no update on the investigation’s duration or its next steps, but said investigators were “moving quickly” to get the facts. 

Bennett’s allegations are the latest in a litany of sexually motivated double-entendre charges she levied against the governor. In late February, she told the New York Times that Cuomo asked her about her sex life, including whether she ever strayed from monogamy in her relationships or if she had ever slept with older men.

Five women have made similar allegations against the governor over the past three months. Cuomo apologized for some of his actions in an early-March press conference. He said he regretted such “playful” jokes and recognized his actions made people feel uncomfortable. However, he denied more serious allegations bordering on assault.

“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” 

On Monday, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters that his chamber was in the process of hiring a law firm to help conduct their impeachment investigation of the governor, launched March 11.

The state’s sexual harassment investigation into the governor’s alleged actions was announced on Feb. 28 by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She holds an elected position and therefore can’t be fired by the governor.

A majority of the state’s lawmakers have called on Cuomo to resign or be removed, according to a running tally by Intelligencer. In addition, more than more than 20 out of the delegation’s 27 total U.S. representatives and both U.S. senators from New York have called on Cuomo to resign over the past month. Both the New York State Assembly and State Senate have a Democratic majority. 

A Siena College poll released Monday found 50% of New Yorkers believed Cuomo should not resign; on the other hand, nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers said he should. 

On a March 12 call with reporters, Cuomo criticized the “cancel culture” over his critic’s rush to remove him, saying they should “wait for the facts.”

In her statement, Katz said the investigation will show Bennett’s allegations against the governor are true. 

“We remain confident that their investigation will substantiate Charlotte’s claims of sexual harassment against Gov. Cuomo, as well as the failure of his senior staff to meet their mandatory reporting requirements under the very laws he signed,” Katz wrote. 

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