New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday morning that after a four-month investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it was found that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple current and former state government employees, including women in his office.
According to James, the nearly five-month probe that included two lawyers who spoke to 179 people, found that Cuomo and his staff fostered a toxic work environment, hostile and rife with fear and intimidation. It also found the governor and his team retaliated against a former employee for coming forward.
Persons interviewed included complainants, current and former members of the executive chamber, State troopers, additional state employees and others who interacted regularly with the governor.
“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture, Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws,” James said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“These brave women stepped forward to speak truth to power and, in doing so, they expressed faith in the belief that although the governor may be powerful, the truth is even more so,” Joon Kim, one of the lawyers leading the investigation, said at the press conference.
Investigators said they found all 11 women were credible, noting that their allegations were corroborated to varying degrees, including by other witnesses and contemporaneous text messages.
The Attorney General’s report is expected to play an important role in an ongoing inquiry in the state Assembly into whether there are grounds for Cuomo to be impeached. Some members of the judiciary committee have said they expect James’ report to be critical for the impeachment investigation.
New York state regulations say sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, from unwanted flirtation to sexual jokes, that creates an offensive work environment, regardless of a perpetrator’s intent.
The Attorney General did not announce any charges, saying that the women could pursue civil suits or that local police departments could review their findings. “We have issued a report and all throughout the process we put our heads down, we’ve done our job. And at this point, we’re going to allow the chips to fall where they may,” James said.
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing to this point, and has said, “I will not resign, I was elected by the people.”
It is going to be very be interesting how this turns out, as several high-profile politicians and other officials, are already calling for his resignation.
We will keep you updated.