Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s original idea of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him apparently wasn’t good enough for his state’s attorney general.
In a statement Sunday, New York AG Letitia James called for an “independent investigation with subpoena power” into claims from multiple women that they faced sexual harassment at the hands of the governor — and she ordered Cuomo to task her office with overseeing it, according to the Daily Wire.
“A thorough review”
In addition to questions about his policy on nursing homes amid COVID-19, Cuomo is currently taking flak from all angles over claims of misconduct from two former staffers, including Lindsey Boylan, who said Cuomo kissed her “on the lips” without invitation and even asked her to play strip poker, according to reports.
Another former staffer has accused the governor of asking about her sex life, the Daily Wire reported.
According to a statement from his office, Cuomo had originally hand-picked federal Judge Barbara Jones to review the misconduct claims, but he decided he wanted to avoid “even the perception of a lack of independence of inference of politics.”
Instead, Cuomo called upon “the Attorney General of New York State and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report.”
“An independent investigation”
But that’s not a proposal James was willing to accept. In a statement of her own, the New York state attorney general said the law “clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral.”
“While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task,” she added Sunday. “The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted,” she ordered.
By the end of the day, James got her wish. Again in response to backlash across the Empire State, Cuomo reversed course late Sunday and announced he would “grant [James’] request for a referral to investigate allegations of sexual harassment,” according to a statement from the AG’s office.
A growing scandal
“We expect to receive a 63(8) referral with subpoena power to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, in line with our demands and New York state law,” James said.
The AG went on: “This is not a responsibility we take lightly. We will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office, and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation.”
Cuomo has continued to deny both claims.