It’s being reported that Andrew Cuomo’s office has opened its own “shadow inquiry” into an aide’s allegations that the governor groped her last year at the Executive Mansion. The move is seen by many as interfering with an ongoing investigation and “deeply troubling.”
Originally, Cuomo had stated that he would wait for Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation to play out, but that seems to have now changed in a desperate move to head off accusers from taking him down.
“We have our own inquiries ongoing,” Cuomo’s senior aide stated to the Albany Times Union on Wednesday. “We have an obligation to investigate any claim of sexual harassment. And we, after reporting (the female aide’s allegations) to the (attorney general), were directed to continue our own inquiry. … So there are multiple inquiries.”
Cuomo’s office allegedly found out about the reported allegation after the woman became visibly upset at a press conference where Cuomo vociferously denied accusations from other women who claimed that he sexually harassed them.
The sixth accuser’s attorney was incensed by Cuomo running a dual investigation with the AG: “It’s absurd. Why would you be doing that?” he incredulously asked. “It’s not appropriate, and obviously we’re concerned with the ramifications and the effect on witnesses and the quest for the truth.” He called it a “shadow investigation” and “deeply troubling.”
1. Investigating yourself is not an investigation.
2. Executive Branch employees: the attorney provided for you is in the interest of the Executive Branch & anything you say to the attorneys will be used to protect the Executive and not you. https://t.co/FTARq5kK4c
— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) March 18, 2021
A third investigation is being conducted by Carl Heastie, the state Speaker of the House. Cuomo’s first accuser, former aide Lindsey Boylan, is rejecting Heastie’s proposed impeachment investigation of the governor. She called it a “sham” and stated she would not cooperate.
“Do not trust @CarlHeastie. His impeachment investigation is not designed to be transparent or to move fast, and there’s nothing @NYGovCuomo wants more than time,” she tweeted.
“Many of us have not put our whole lives on the line for this crap. I certainly have not and will not.”
“What would be the point of survivors talking to investigators of your sham investigation @CarlHeastie?” Boylan stated.
“I am in conversation with other women who have no interest in your corrupt, cynical ‘investigation.’ Hard pass,” she said.
Many of us have not put our whole lives on the line for this crap. I certainly have not and will not. https://t.co/kllLzxT9TP
— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) March 17, 2021
The unnamed aide who was allegedly groped by Cuomo at the Executive Mansion is said to be much younger than he is. She was summoned to the residence by the 63-year-old governor to ostensibly help with his cellphone. She alleges he reached up under her shirt and fondled her. She has reportedly not filed a formal complaint and apparently still works in the governor’s office.
Cuomo’s office is calling his investigation a procedural matter.
Charlotte Bennett’s attorney, Debra Katz, called the internal inquiry “absolutely wrong.”
“Running a ‘parallel review’ to identify potential witnesses and providing attorneys to coach and supervise witnesses who testify before the independent investigators is absolutely wrong,” she declared.
“At best, these actions will have a chilling effect on potential witnesses or accusers who want to come forward without fear of retaliation,” she proclaimed. “At worst, this is a deliberate attempt by the Governor’s office to interfere with the attorney general’s investigation.”
Enter Beth Garvey, who is representing Cuomo: “‘We fully informed the (attorney general’s) office of the required process with this type of allegation and they said to follow it.”
“The matter was referred to GOER (Governor’s Office of Employee Relations) and (we) informed local law enforcement and that is the full extent of the action,” she concluded.
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