Governor Andrew Cuomo is clinging to energy following the discharge of a bombshell report on his alleged sample of sexual harassment and abuse. The 165-page doc — and accompanying appendices — presents a meticulous and unsparing account of the state’s chief govt utilizing his energy to sexually harass and degrade 11 girls. It describes an Government Chamber “rife with worry and retaliation,” the place the governor’s misdeeds had been normalized and guarded by prime staffers.
The five-month investigation was overseen by Legal professional Common Letitia James, however led by Anne Clark, a labor lawyer, and former federal prosecutor Joon Kim, to keep away from any battle of curiosity. The 2 attorneys interviewed 179 individuals, 41 of whom had been underneath oath, and issued over 70 subpoenas. They confirmed lots of the most damning allegations towards Cuomo, whereas unearthing new acts of alleged misconduct. Beneath, a have a look at a number of the report’s greatest findings.
State Trooper Felt “Utterly Violated”
One among a number of newly public allegations of harassment comes from a New York State Trooper, recognized within the report as “Trooper #1.” After assembly Cuomo briefly at an occasion in late 2017, she was recruited to affix the governor’s protecting service element. Whereas Cuomo officers denied it on the time, emails present that the state modified their coverage requiring three years of service with a view to fulfill the governor’s want to rent her.
After becoming a member of the unit, the trooper alleged that Cuomo peppered her with inappropriate feedback, asking why she wasn’t required to put on a gown and telling her that he was looking for a associate who “can deal with ache.” He additionally tried to kiss her on the cheek on at the very least two events, she mentioned, and ran his fingers alongside her backbone whereas the 2 of them had been in an elevator.
READ MORE: So How Does Impeachment Work In New York State?
Later, at an occasion on Lengthy Island in 2019, Cuomo “ran the palm of his left hand throughout her abdomen” in a manner that made her really feel “utterly violated,” the report states.
Investigators mentioned that the sufferer’s account was constant and supported by proof, whereas Cuomo’s denial “lacked credibility.”
Allegations From Charlotte Bennett Corroborated
In February of this yr, Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former staffer to Cuomo, accused the governor of “grooming” her by way of inappropriate conversations. She mentioned that he repeatedly requested about her intercourse life, whether or not she would sleep with older males, and if she was monogamous. He additionally volunteered that he would really feel comfy sleeping with girls of their 20s, and appeared “fixated” on her standing as a sexual assault survivor, she mentioned.
Textual content messages revealed as a part of the report seem to again up her assertions. In a collection of messages despatched on June fifth of final yr, Bennett wrote to a buddy that Cuomo had requested “if I used to be fucking different [people]” and mentioned that “age doesn’t matter.” The interplay left her “shaking,” she wrote, “so upset and so confused.”
She later reported the conversations to the governor’s chief of workers, Jill DesRosiers, and was transferred to a different place. However whereas DesRosiers testified that she discovered Bennett’s declare credible, the incident was not formally reported or investigated — a violation of state tips, in accordance with investigators.
In his assertion on Tuesday afternoon, Cuomo mentioned that he was attempting to assist Bennett as a result of his personal member of the family was a survivor of sexual assault. “I now perceive that there are generational or cultural views that frankly I hadn’t totally appreciated,” he added.
As with the state trooper, investigators mentioned that Cuomo’s protection was not credible.
Chris Cuomo Crafts Technique
Hours after Bennett got here ahead, key Cuomo allies had been haggling over whether or not to hit again laborious or categorical regret. Emails included within the report present that Chris Cuomo, an anchor on CNN, participated in these technique calls, serving to to draft a statement that carefully aligned with the ultimate copy launched by the administration. One e-mail reads: “Chris desires to verify we’ve got sufficient contrition right here.”
The governor appeared typically on his brother’s primetime program through the early days of the pandemic — conversations that had been broadly seen as a breach of journalistic ethics. In Could, after the Washington Publish reported that Chris Cuomo was privately advising his brother, CNN apologized, however declined to self-discipline the anchor.
Chris Cuomo isn’t the one one who gave the impression to be moonlighting for the governor. Emails present that Lis Smith, the previous senior advisor to Pete Buttigieg; Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Marketing campaign; and Dani Lever, a communications supervisor at Fb, all performed a task in Cuomo’s disaster response workforce, regardless of not working in state authorities.
“Everybody form of jokes that the governor’s workplace is like Resort California,” one former senior staffer informed investigators. “You by no means actually depart.”
Physician Who Swabbed Cuomo Felt Uncomfortable
Amongst those that spoke to the investigators was a former Director of New York State Division of Well being, who administered a nasal COVID swab to Cuomo on stay tv final March. The doctor mentioned that she was made uncomfortable by a sexually suggestive joke Cuomo made off-camera, in addition to his feedback to her in entrance of the press: “Good to see you, Physician—you make that robe look good.”
One other unnamed state worker informed investigators that Cuomo grabbed her butt whereas having his image taken together with her in September of 2019. The worker knowledgeable a number of mates in regards to the incident, who corroborated it with the investigators.
In one other beforehand unreported incident, Virginia Limmiatis, an worker of Nationwide Grid in Syracuse, informed investigators that Cuomo approached her at an power conservation occasion in 2017 and proceeded to run his fingers towards her chest whereas commenting on her t-shirt. He then allegedly brushed between the realm of her shoulder and breast, whereas whispering in her ear: “I’m going to say I see a spider in your shoulder.”
Limmiatis informed investigators she was moved to return ahead after listening to Cuomo state on tv that he had by no means touched anybody inappropriately. “He’s mendacity once more,” she mentioned. “He touched me inappropriately.”
Tradition Of Retaliation
Because the allegations of sexual harassment mounted earlier this yr, they had been accompanied by stories of retaliation and intimidation within the prime ranges of the Governor’s Workplace. Investigators discovered that these accounts had been true and, in at the very least one case, unlawful.
The report singled out the Government Chamber’s efforts to smear former state financial growth deputy secretary Lindsay Boylan, who first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in late 2020, as illegal retaliation. The report discovered that senior staffers shared confidential personnel paperwork with reporters in an try and discredit and disparage Boylan’s account in violation of her rights.
In a single occasion, a number of present and former members of the administration signed onto an announcement disputing Boylan’s allegation that Cuomo had requested her to play strip poker on a aircraft journey. However underneath oath, Howard Zemsky, the previous head of Empire State Growth, reversed his place, acknowledging that he had overhead the feedback.
READ MORE: President Biden Calls For Cuomo To Resign, As Governor Denies Wrongdoing
Boylan wasn’t the one one who confronted retaliation for talking up. One former Cuomo worker mentioned she obtained “incessant calls and texts” from Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s prime aide, asking her to name one other staffer who officers feared would lodge an allegation towards Cuomo.
One other unnamed govt assistant, who alleged that she was groped by Cuomo, additionally informed investigators that she was silent out of concern that may be retaliated towards by supervisor if she spoke up in regards to the assault.
For some staffers, the governor’s aggressive conduct wasn’t seen as undesirable. Annabel Walsh, a former staffer, recalled having kissed Cuomo on the lips and mentioned she didn’t discover the contact uncomfortable.
However others mentioned the message was clear. “In his workplace the foundations had been completely different,” Ana Liss, the third aide to accuse Cuomo of inappropriate conduct, informed investigators. “Although it was unusual and uncomfortable and technically not permissible in a typical office setting, I used to be on this mindset that it was the twilight zone.”