NY Attorney General conclude that the Governor Cuomo engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law
District attorneys in Westchester and Manhattan have launched a criminal probe on Governor Cuomo are the latest headlines this morning after yesterday’s announcement by NY Attorney General Letitia James investigation of sexual harassment by Governor Cuomo.
Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah said, “As some of the Governor’s conduct described in the report occurred in Westchester County, we have formally requested investigative materials obtained by the AG’s Office.”
One of and probably the most serious allegation against Cuomo was in incident incident in the Executive Mansion in Albany on November 16th, where he’s accused of putting his hand under the shirt of a female aide and grabbing her breast over her bra.
The video released on Tuesday, Gov Cuomo repeated his claim , “I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” and said he was the victim of a smear campaign.
Last night, Don Lemon gave about 20 minutes of airtime to yesterday’s news about Gov. Cuomo. When he passed off the nightly baton to as he always does to Gov. Cuomo’s brother Chris Cuomo show after Don’s, Chris made no mention of the breaking news of the day about his brother Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Chris is mentioned in the attorney general’s report. Reported by NBC News, “In May, Chris Cuomo admitted having had “inappropriate” strategy talks with his brother and vowed to steer clear of the network’s coverage of the governor. Tuesday’s report from the attorney general hinted at the depth of the strategy consultations.”
Over 55 Democratic New York legislators published a letter calling for Cuomo’s resignation. Democratic and Republican leaders in the senate are also asking Cuomo to resign, including President Biden.
The partial report from the NY Attorney General’s Office reads as follows:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY We, the investigators appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, conclude that the Governor engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law. Specifically, we find that the Governor sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.
Our investigation revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public.
We also conclude that the Executive Chamber’s culture—one filled with fear and intimidation, while at the same time normalizing the Governor’s frequent flirtations and gender-based comments—contributed to the conditions that allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist. That culture also influenced the improper and inadequate ways in which the Executive Chamber has responded to allegations of harassment.
1 The Governor’s Sexually Harassing Conduct The Governor’s sexually harassing conduct, established during our investigation and described in greater detail in the factual findings of this Report, includes the following:
- Executive Assistant #1.2 Since approximately late 2019, the Governor engaged in a pattern of inappropriate conduct with an executive assistant (“Executive Assistant #1”), who is a woman. That pattern of conduct included: (1) close and intimate hugs; (2) kisses on the cheeks, forehead, and at least one kiss on the lips; (3) touching and grabbing of Executive Assistant #1’s butt during hugs and, on one occasion, while taking selfies with him; and (4) comments and jokes by the Governor about Executive Assistant #1’s personal life and relationships, including calling her and another assistant “mingle mamas,”3 inquiring multiple times about whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband, and asking her to help find him a girlfriend. These offensive interactions, among others, culminated in an incident at the Executive Mansion in November 2020 when the Governor, during another close hug with 1 As set forth below in the Relevant Law section, discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex or gender and retaliation for complaints about such discrimination violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1983 (42 U.S.C. § 1983), and New York State Human Rights Law (N.Y. Exec. Law § 290, et seq.).
2 Many of the individuals we interviewed during our investigation expressed concern and fear over retaliation and requested that, to the extent possible, their identities not be disclosed. Thus, we have sought to anonymize individuals as much as possible, while ensuring the Report’s findings and the bases for our conclusions can be fully understood.
We have not anonymized individuals whose identities are already publicly known, individuals whose conduct is implicated in the sexual harassment and retaliation allegations, or those who did not raise any concerns about retaliation. In certain instances, we have named individuals in one context but sought to anonymize them in others where, in our judgment, the specific identity was not necessary to understand the context. 3 Executive Assistant #1 Tr. 95:9–16; Alyssa McGrath Tr. 50:15–52:3. Where on-the-record testimony was taken of witnesses, we cite to the page and line numbers of the transcripts. This Report also includes information obtained from interviews conducted, as well as documents collected during the investigation, some of which are attached to an Appendix and cited to as Exhibits (“Ex.”).
2 Executive Assistant #1, reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast. For over three months, Executive Assistant #1 kept this groping incident to herself and planned to take it “to the grave,”4 but found herself becoming emotional (in a way that was visible to her colleagues in the Executive Chamber) while watching the Governor state, at a press conference on March 3, 2021, that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately.”5 She then confided in certain of her colleagues, who in turn reported her allegations to senior staff in the Executive Chamber.
Image Diana Robinson