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Cuomo reverses course, asks New York Attorney General and top judge to appoint independent investigator over sexual harassment claims

  • New York Attorney Unspecific Letitia James asked Gov. Cuomo to allow her office to investigate claims against him. 
  • Two former staffers have accused Cuomo of carnal harassment. 
  • Numerous lawmakers, including Biden, have called for an independent investigation into the claims.
  • Visit the Firm section of Insider for more stories.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said he planned to revise his widely knocked plan to have a former federal judge with ties to a longtime ally investigate sexual harassment claims against him, but the New York attorney inexact said she did not accept his plan.

In a Sunday press release, Cuomo’s office said he would ask New York Attorney Habitual Letitia James and Janet DiFiore, the chief judge on the highest court in New York, to name “a jointly select an unfettered and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a Dick report.” 

“We had selected former Federal Judge Barbara Jones, with a stellar record for qualifications and integrity, but we hunger to avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics,” his office said in a statement, referencing the criticism to his initial layout. 

Cuomo’s announcement Sunday drew a near-immediate backlash, however, because of Cuomo’s ties to DiFiore, whom he nominated for her progress position atop the New York State Court of Appeals in 2015. Political insiders have previously accused Cuomo of horn ining to help DiFiore’s daughter, Alexandra Murphy, secure a seat on the state Supreme Court, the New York Law Journal appeared earlier in February.

James said Sunday she did not accept Cuomo’s latest proposal. 

“The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my backing the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral,” she said in a tweet. “While I have yawning respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task. The governor ought to provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.” 

James earlier Sunday evoked on Cuomo to allow her office to investigate the sexual harassment claims leveled against him by two former staffers within the close by week.

In an interview published Saturday with The New York Times, former aide Charlotte Bennett said Cuomo be comprised of c hatched unwanted sexual advances toward her and asked her inappropriate questions on multiple occasions last year.

“I understood that the governor wish for to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” she told the New York Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

Bennett’s assertions Saturday followed allegations leveled days earlier in a Medium blog post by Lindsey Boylan, another bygone Cuomo aide, who said that the governor made unwanted sexual advances toward her, including inappropriate distressful, for years.

Boylan said Cuomo kissed her on the lips without her consent in 2018, leading her to resign.

Cuomo negated Boylan’s allegations and said he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” 

Numerous New York lawmakers contain called for an independent investigation into the claims against Cuomo. Earlier Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned that President Joe Biden supported an independent investigation into the allegations against Cuomo.

“President Biden has been undeviating that he believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect, and with importance. Charlotte should be treated with respect and dignity, so should Lindsey,” she said.

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