The New York Attorney General Letitia James has concluded that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “sexually harassed multiple subordinates,” according to a report from the Attorney General’s office released on Tuesday, which also concluded that Cuomo retaliated against women who complained about his behaviour, fostering a “toxic work environment.”
“The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women,” James said on Tuesday.
Cuomo, the AG added, “engaged in unwanted and inappropriate groping, kissing, hugging, and comments that accusers called ‘deeply humiliating, uncomfortable, offensive, or inappropriate.”
The probe included interviews with 179 individuals who came into contact with Andrew Cuomo between 2013 and 2020 and around 70,000 pieces of evidence, James said.
The investigation, she added, painted a “deeply disturbing yet clear picture” of systemic problems in Cuomo’s office.
At her press conference Tuesday, James added that Cuomo “violated federal and state law” and engaged in “conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government and shines lights on injustice that can be present at the highest levels of government.”
The two attorneys hired to complete the investigation, “Joon H. Kim, a former top federal prosecutor, and Anne L. Clark, a well-known employment lawyer” per The New York Times, said that their investigation “revealed that these were not isolated incidents” and that Cuomo’s behaviour represented a “pattern.”
“James’ report will also say that Cuomo’s office was riddled with fear and intimidation, and was a hostile work environment for many staffers,” because of the governor’s “suggestive” sexual comments and unwanted advances according to CNBC.
“Cuomo and his senior staff took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story,” the AG continued, according to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Governor Cuomo and the Executive Chamber fostered a ‘toxic’ workplace that enabled ‘harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment,’” he added.
“The announcement came about two weeks after Cuomo was interviewed by investigators retained by James’ office for the probe. Cuomo was reportedly questioned for 11 hours,” CNBC reported. “The probe into numerous women’s allegations of sexual harassment by Cuomo began in March after the state’s executive chamber granted James’ request to investigate.”
Cuomo’s office has yet to respond to James, but in an interview with ABC News back in March when the probe was announced, President Joe Biden said he believed Cuomo should resign if allegations of sexual harassment were confirmed by the Attorney General’s investigation.
Cuomo previously “denied allegations of touching anyone inappropriately but released a statement in February acknowledging that some of his workplace remarks ‘may have been insensitive or too personal,’” according to CNN.
“The statement said he was ‘truly sorry’ to those who might have ‘misinterpreted (the remarks) as an unwanted flirtation.’”
The Attorney General is also looking into claims that Cuomo sent COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, triggering a wave of infections and deaths.