In a press release issued Sunday night, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s workplace signaled that he’ll relent to Legal professional Basic Letitia James’s calls for for particular powers to totally examine sexual harassment allegations in opposition to him.
“The Governor’s workplace needs a radical and impartial evaluate that’s above reproach and past political interference,” particular counsel and senior advisor to the governor, Beth Garvey, stated in a press release. “Due to this fact, the Governor’s workplace has requested Legal professional Basic Tish James to pick a certified personal lawyer to do an impartial evaluate of allegations of sexual harassment.”
The impartial lawyer will probably be thought-about the “particular impartial deputy lawyer common” and have powers underneath state legislation 63(8). The change appeared to fulfill the calls for from James, who needed such powers underneath that state legislation so as to have the ability to problem subpoenas, however she couldn’t accomplish that till the governor issued an official referral.
In a press release, James stated her workplace expects the actual referral she demanded earlier within the day.
“We count on to obtain a 63(8) referral with subpoena energy to analyze allegations of sexual harassment in opposition to the governor, consistent with our calls for and New York state legislation,” James stated in a press release. “The referral could be made solely to the lawyer common’s workplace. This isn’t a duty we take evenly. We’ll rent a legislation agency, deputize them as attorneys of our workplace, and oversee a rigorous and impartial investigation.”
The Legal professional Basic’s workplace confirmed on Sunday evening that it had not but obtained an official referral from the governor’s workplace. A referral would must be in a letter with particular language across the state legislation referenced in statements to the press from the 2 workplaces.
The change-up got here after a dizzying 24 hours of back-and-forth over how an impartial investigation into claims that the governor had sexually harassed two former aides would perform. At first, Cuomo put a former choose, Barbara Jones, in control of reviewing the allegations. Then, he as an alternative requested Chief Decide DiFiore and Legal professional Basic James to decide on a non-public lawyer to analyze. Neither glad the rising requires a “really impartial” investigation. Critics famous that Jones had as soon as labored with a longtime Cuomo ally and former aide, Steve Cohen, and DiFiore can be appointed by the governor and thought of an ally to him.
Garvey stated the impartial lawyer would publicly report findings and the governor’s workplace would cooperate totally.
“As mandatory, different legal professionals from the appointed lawyer’s agency shall be equally designated to help within the evaluate,” Garvey stated. It’s unclear if DiFiore will nonetheless work with James on the investigation or not. The Governor’s workplace didn’t instantly make clear.
Following Garvey’s assertion, Cuomo himself issued a press release seemingly regretful of his habits, acknowledging what he noticed as teasing within the workplace might have offended individuals.
“I by no means meant to offend anybody or trigger any hurt,” Cuomo stated in a press release. “I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are sometimes additionally private associates.”
He stated he’s generally “playful” and makes jokes at work and teases individuals in what he sees as a “good-natured method,” noting he does so publicly at press briefings too. Within the assertion, he stated he now realizes how these interactions might have been made others really feel in a method he didn’t intend, particularly given his place as governor.
“I acknowledge among the issues I’ve stated have been misinterpreted as an undesirable flirtation. To the extent anybody felt that method, I’m really sorry about that,” Cuomo stated.
He nonetheless denied that he had ever “inappropriately touched anyone” or “propositioned anyone.”
One in every of his accusers, former aide Lindsey Boylan, had alleged the governor forcibly kissed her and the second accuser, Charlotte Bennett, interpreted his remarks as “grooming” and sexual advances in nature.
“To be clear I by no means inappropriately touched anyone and I by no means propositioned anyone and I by no means meant to make anybody really feel uncomfortable, however these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve solutions to,” Cuomo stated. “That is why I’ve requested for an outdoor, impartial evaluate that appears at these allegations.”