One of the former aides who has accused Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment reportedly spent several hours speaking with investigators attached to the state attorney general’s office on Monday, according to The Daily Caller.
Even as multiple scandals mount against Cuomo, including allegations of sexual misconduct as well as his administration’s deadly mishandling of the COVID pandemic, President Joe Biden’s White House has refrained from issuing any sort of criticism of the embattled governor.
Accuser meets with state investigators
According to Debra Katz, the attorney representing Charlotte Bennett, the former aide to Cuomo spoke with investigators for more than four hours in a Zoom meeting Monday to discuss her allegations of sexual harassment against her by her ex-boss and the “sexually hostile work environment” his behavior created, the Associated Press reported.
Katz said Bennett provided more than 120 documents to investigators that purportedly corroborated her accusations, which she also recounted in detail for the investigators.
The AP noted that the investigation of the allegations against Cuomo, which has subpoena power and is expected to eventually release a comprehensive report, is being run out of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office and is led by two high-powered attorneys, one a former federal prosecutor and the other with a focus on workplace discrimination.
Cuomo’s “sexually hostile work environment”
“We remain confident that their investigation will substantiate Charlotte’s claims of sexual harassment against Gov. Cuomo, as well as the failure of his senior staff to meet their mandatory reporting requirements under the very laws he signed,” Katz said in a statement.
“She also provided detailed information about the sexually hostile work environment the Governor fostered in both his Manhattan and Albany offices and his deliberate effort to create rivalries and tension among female staffers on whom he bestowed attention,” the attorney added.
Part of that “detailed information” highlighted by Katz was Bennett’s assertion that the governor had a “preoccupation with his hand size and what the large size of his hands indicated” to the female staffers in his administration, Fox News reported.
Katz also suggested that, in addition to Cuomo’s alleged misbehavior, investigators should look into the “culture of fear, abuse and secrecy” instilled in the governor’s office, and urged others who were subjected to or had observed Cuomo’s “inappropriate behavior” to come forward publicly.
White House dodges Cuomo issue
Meanwhile, the Biden White House has danced around the issue and has been reluctant to condemn Cuomo or strip him of the honor of leading the weekly White House-coordinated governor’s meetings on the pandemic response, the New York Post reported.
During a press briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged the numerous allegations against Cuomo were “troubling” and “hard to read,” but that it had been determined that it would be “appropriate” to withhold judgment until the state attorney general had completed her “quick and thorough” investigation.
As for Cuomo continuing to lead the weekly conference call with governors and the White House, Psaki dodged the question and shifted responsibility to the National Governors Association, which Cuomo co-chairs, as well as the state legislature, to determine if Cuomo should remain in his current position.