ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was very nervous about the ongoing sexual harassment claims against him. Despite repeated insistence that he didn’t do anything wrong, Cuomo hasn’t specifically responded to specific allegations in weeks if not months.
The Sexual Harassment Working Group wants the congregation to stop investigating Cuomo
Although Cuomo has often declined a physical press presence at promotional meetings, most of the questions that reach the governor concern the investigation. At a press event in Syracuse on Monday, Cuomo said he “didn’t do anything wrong”.
Debra Katz, prosecutor Charlotte Bennett’s attorney, issued a statement in response to the governor’s quick diversion. She said he revealed “a studied ignorance of both his legal obligations and a revisionist story about his own conduct”. Read on for the full statement from Bennett’s attorney:
Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted a press conference in which he continued his efforts to actively undermine the Attorney General’s independent investigation into his sexual harassment of my client Charlotte Bennett and numerous other women. Cuomo’s efforts to undermine this investigation are part of a wider effort to evade accountability for his actions, and members of the NY State Assembly must be willing to accept the attorney general’s findings when the appointed investigators complete their work and put them in their impeachment will involve procedures.
Today the governor said he had “done nothing wrong” and demonstrated a studied ignorance of both his legal obligations and a revisionist history of his own conduct. A few weeks ago he admitted several times that he had made “jokes” and other inappropriate comments on Ms. Bennett, which are defined as sexual harassment under the guidelines he has issued. Doesn’t he really understand that it’s illegal to sexually propose a 25-year-old employee after making inappropriate sexual comments? Or does he still believe that the law does not apply to him? Despite what the governor said today, the attorney general’s report will not absolve him of wrongdoing as his legal obligations – which he disregards – are crystal clear. At least nine women came forward who credibly accused him of unwanted progress, unwanted touch, and / or aggressive fumbling. This behavior is clearly wrong and illegal.
Cuomo’s comments today raise serious questions about what he considers appropriate behavior in the workplace, and we believe the women in his office continue to be at risk for ongoing sexual harassment if he really thinks it’s okay Touching and suggesting low-ranking female employees are decades younger than him. In March, Ms. Bennett said she saw another employee complete state-required sexual harassment training for him. While his office has denied this, neither the governor nor his office have ever produced any records showing that he has completed the sexual harassment training he requires for every New York state employer and employee in the Executive Chamber.
We would like to see any material or record of this training and confirm that he understands the definition of sexual harassment in the New York State workplace.
Debra S. Katz
The latest official statement from the Cuomo camp came last week from Rich Azzopardi, an aide. He said recent developments in the investigation “jumped the shark”. Although Cuomo has said that he will not say anything that would compromise the integrity of the investigation, Azzopardi made comments on State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Letitia James. He accused both Democrats of having political motives:
“This is the worst policy in Albany,” said Azzopardi. “Both the comptroller and the attorney general have spoken to people about running for governor, and it is unethical to use a criminal referral agency to promote political self-interest.”
When Cuomo was himself the attorney general of New York, his office promptly opened an investigation by the then government. Elliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal.