Biden says Cuomo should resign over sexual harassment report

Andrew Cuomo updates

US president Joe Biden referred to as on Andrew Cuomo to resign after a blockbuster investigation concluded that the New York governor had violated state and federal legal guidelines by sexually harassing quite a few ladies.

The decision got here after Letitia James, the state attorney-general who appointed the investigators, stated {that a} five-month probe revealed a “deeply disturbing but clear image” of a poisonous office by which Cuomo abused present and former state staff by groping, kissing or touching them in opposition to their needs, and bombarding them with sexualised feedback.

After the report was launched, quite a lot of distinguished Democratic politicians demanded that Cuomo step down. “I believe he ought to resign,” Biden stated at a press convention on Tuesday when requested whether or not he stood by comments he made earlier within the yr. New York’s two Democratic US senators and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the Home of Representatives, additionally referred to as for his resignation.

The investigation substantiated claims from 11 ladies, together with a state trooper who stated she was harassed whereas assigned to the governor’s safety element.

James accused Cuomo of governing by a local weather of concern that was enabled by his closest aides. His workplace retaliated in opposition to no less than one of many complainants, the attorney-general stated, by sharing adverse details about her with the press in an effort to discredit her.

At a press convention on Tuesday, attorneys who performed the investigation for the attorney-general recounted episodes by which Cuomo allegedly grabbed a former govt assistant’s breasts or buttocks or ran his finger down the backbone of the trooper and touched her abdomen.

In a single incident, the governor allegedly advised an assistant: “For those who have been single, the issues I might do to you.” Such conduct, the attorneys stated, was not merely a clumsy or clumsy try at affection, however illegal.

Cuomo responded in a 15-minute tackle throughout which he restated his forceful denial of allegations which have dogged him since Lindsey Boylan, a former state financial growth official, got here ahead to accuse him in February. 

“The info are a lot completely different than what has been portrayed,” Cuomo stated, urging individuals to seek the advice of a rebuttal of the attorney-general’s report he posted on his web site. “I by no means touched anybody inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

Cuomo blamed the media, political foes and different culprits, and stated these selling the accusations have been discrediting precise victims of sexual abuse. He didn’t take any questions.

The governor did apologise to at least one accuser, Charlotte Bennett, a younger former aide who claimed that after confiding to him about sexual assault she had suffered he went on to ask suggestive questions on her intercourse life, together with whether or not she was open to a relationship with an older man.

Cuomo stated he was reminded of a member of the family who had been assaulted, and was solely attempting to assist: “Charlotte, I would like you to know that I’m actually and deeply sorry.”

The civil investigation has for months hung over Cuomo, a three-term Democratic governor who rose to national prominence for his decisive dealing with of the early months of the Covid pandemic.

That efficiency has additionally come below scrutiny, with James’ workplace concluding in January that the state had undercounted Covid fatalities in nursing properties by as a lot as 50 per cent.

Cuomo has been elevating cash for a marketing campaign for a fourth time period in workplace subsequent yr and defying predictions of political doom despite the fact that a lot of New York’s congressional delegation demanded in March that he step down amid a rising variety of feminine accusers.

These calls have been renewed after the discharge of the attorney-general’s report. In a joint assertion, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, each Democrats, referred to as Cuomo’s behaviour “profoundly disturbing, inappropriate and utterly unacceptable.” They concluded: “We proceed to imagine that the Governor ought to resign.”

Pelosi stated that Cuomo ought to resign, whereas Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking Republican within the US Home of Representatives who represents a district in New York, referred to as for Cuomo to “be arrested instantly”.

James made clear on Tuesday that her investigation was civil, not prison, in nature. When requested what would come subsequent, the attorney-general stated the publication of the report concluded her work on the matter, saying: “At this level, we’re going to permit the chips to fall the place they might.”

Cuomo’s destiny might relaxation with Carl Heastie, an ally who’s the speaker of the state’s legislative meeting. Earlier this yr, Heastie introduced an impeachment investigation to look at the harassment claims, in addition to the nursing residence deaths and a profitable e book deal that Cuomo obtained to put in writing about management in disaster.

Heastie has pleaded for persistence, main some critics to dismiss the investigation as a stalling tactic.

In a press release on Tuesday, the speaker stated the conduct outlined in James’ report “would point out somebody who isn’t match for workplace”. The meeting’s judiciary committee would now undertake “an in-depth examination of the report”, he stated, including: “We can have extra to say within the very close to future.”

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