New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was defiant when numerous allegations of sexual harassment became public last spring, flatly denying that he had ever touched anyone inappropriately. An independent investigation “can’t say anything different” from his denials, Cuomo said in April, “because I didn’t do anything wrong.” But now that independent investigation has found that yes, Cuomo sexually harassed (at least) 11 women in violation of “multiple state and federal laws as well as the executive chamber’s own written policies,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday.
James, however, is not bringing criminal charges against Cuomo, saying “the matter is civil in nature and does not have any criminal consequences.”
The investigation, conducted by attorneys at two outside law firms, involved interviews with 179 people and brought in 74,000 pieces of evidence, yielding a “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, many of them in their 20s, not just with inappropriate comments but with groping, kisses, and more. Cuomo’s abuses were covered up by his top staff and occurred in the context of a “toxic, hostile, abusive” office culture rife with “intimidation” and “fear,” one of the lead investigators, Joon Kim, said at the Tuesday press conference.
Cuomo’s harassment stretched over years and included a state trooper who he had put on his protective detail despite the fact that she didn’t meet the requirements for that assignment, as well as multiple aides and employees of other New York State entities. One executive assistant had planned to go “to the grave” without revealing an incident in which Cuomo reached under her shirt and grabbed her breast, but when she heard Cuomo denying other women’s sexual harassment allegations she broke down and confided in coworkers.
The bottom line with regard to Cuomo is that, as Kim said, “the governor on numerous occasions engaged in conduct that constitutes unlawful sex-based harassment.” He’d gotten away with it for years. And, James said, “none of this would have been illuminated if not for the heroic women who came forward and I am inspired by all the brave women who came forward.
But more importantly,” she continued, “I believe them, and I thank them for their bravery, and I thank the independent investigators for their professionalism despite the attacks.”
Cuomo’s likely response comes through in the investigators’ report:
In his testimony, the Governor suggested that the complainants were—and must be—motivated by politics, animosity, or some other reason. He also expressed his view that this investigation itself—and the investigators conducting the investigation—were politically motivated, an assertion that we saw in the documentary evidence and other witnesses’ testimony was part of the planned response to the investigation almost as soon as it commenced.
As of March, with six women having gone public with their allegations against Cuomo, there were calls for Cuomo to resign coming from Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, much of New York’s congressional delegation, and more than half of the state legislature. If there’s anyone left out there who hasn’t called on Cuomo to resign, you have to figure that’s coming. Cuomo has so far ignored those calls and attacked both his victims and the investigators. Given his apparent sense of entitlement and grievance, that seems unlikely to change even in the face of this devastating report.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.