New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Workplace Hires Exterior Legal professionals For Intercourse-Harassment Probe
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office has hired outside attorneys to represent its Executive Chamber in an investigation into allegations that the governor has acted inappropriately against workers in the workplace.
The attorneys held a conference call with the governor’s staff on Tuesday, urging staff to address any concerns, according to those familiar with the conference call. At least one of the lawyers worked for the Arnold & Porter law firm.
Three former aides and one current executive in the Executive Chamber have accused the governor of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. Attorney General Letitia James is overseeing an investigation into the allegations.
The governor’s spokesmen did not return requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Arnold & Porter, who has an office in Manhattan, didn’t return an email asking for comment.
Mr Cuomo has said he has not touched anyone inappropriately and apologized if his personal interactions with staff were misinterpreted. He said he was working with the harassment probe. At a press conference on Wednesday, he said he would not answer questions about his behavior until the investigation was completed.
A special advisor for Mr. Cuomo, Judith Mogul, has separately hired lawyer Elkan Abramowitz to represent her in connection with the investigation of sexual harassment. Ms. Mogul and Mr. Abramowitz are former legal partners.
One of Mr Cuomo’s accusers, 25-year-old former adjutant Charlotte Bennett, said the governor asked her about her sex life during a meeting at his office in June. Later that month, Ms. Mogul spoke to Ms. Bennett after complaining about Mr. Cuomo’s behavior.
The governor faces calls to resign over allegations of harassment and his government’s handling of Covid-19 in state nursing homes. Senior democratic lawmakers have asked Mr Cuomo to step aside; The governor has said he will not and has asked people to wait for Ms. James to be checked.
“I have a job to do,” said Mr Cuomo on Wednesday. He said a poll found that New Yorkers “believe in due process, allegations are not guilty – so find out the facts before reaching a conclusion.”
The 63-year-old governor was vaccinated against the coronavirus at a church in Harlem on Wednesday. During the event, he was commended by black leaders for signing changes to the criminal justice system and helping fund a new headquarters complex for the Urban League.
Democrats, who dominate the New York state convention, said Wednesday that a Manhattan law firm will conduct an impeachment investigation into nursing homes and harassment allegations.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP will assist the Chamber’s Judiciary Committee in reviewing Mr. Cuomo’s conduct, said Congregation spokesman Carl Heastie.
“The hiring of Davis Polk will give the committee the experience, independence and resources necessary to properly and expeditiously process this important investigation,” said Heastie, a Bronx Democrat.
The speaker first announced the impeachment investigation on Thursday and said Monday he would not predict how long the investigation would take. A vote to indict a governor would require a majority of the members in the 150-seat chamber.
The governor has rejected calls for the resignation of high-ranking leaders in his own party, including US Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as the Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Yonkers.
Separately, prosecutors have requested data on deaths in nursing homes and are interested in producing a July health department report on the impact of Covid-19 on these facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The governor’s advisors have stated that they are cooperating with the federal investigation and the Executive Chamber has hired Mr. Abramowitz to represent them in relation to the federal investigation.
At a press conference following allegations of sexual harassment and requests from some to resign, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo apologized for insulting anyone or causing pain from previous actions, but said he would not resign. Photo: Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (video dated 3/3/21)
Ms. Bennett spoke to Ms. James’ investigators on Monday. In a statement, Ms. Bennett’s attorney Debra S. Katz said she was alarmed by Davis Polk’s selection for the impeachment investigation.
Ms. Katz said the law firm’s discontinuation posed a conflict of interest because Dennis Glazer, who was a long-time partner with the firm prior to leaving in 2012, is the husband of New York State Court of Appeal Judge Janet DiFiore, who was appointed by the governor .
A spokesman for Judge DiFiore said she had no affiliation with the company or any involvement in its selection.
Mr. Heastie said the Davis Polk team would include Angela Burgess, Greg Andres and Martine Beamon. You will work with Rep. Charles Lavine, a Long Island Democrat who chairs the Chamber’s Judiciary Committee.
“Davis Polk has been thoroughly vetted and the three lawyers we hire are extremely well qualified. I am confident that you will assist the committee and me in conducting a fair and impartial investigation, “Lavine said in a statement.
– Joe Palazzolo contributed to this article.
Write to Jimmy Vielkind at Jimmy.Vielkind@wsj.com
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