third Cuomo Accuser to Communicate With Investigators Thursday in Intercourse Harassment Case – NBC New York
What to know
- A third prosecutor is expected to meet with investigators on the allegations. Ana Liss did not make a specific claim but rather went into what she called a “toxic work environment”.
- President Joe Biden spoke his strongest language yet regarding the sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo, saying that the governor should resign if the investigation confirms the allegations
- The State Assembly appointed a team of Davis Polk & Wardwell attorneys – including a former top federal attorney – to conduct its own impeachment investigation
A third woman, alleged against Governor Andrew Cuomo in a sexual harassment investigation, plans to meet with Attorney General investigators on the case on Thursday.
Ana Liss, who spoke about the alleged “toxic work environment” in the governor’s contested office in a television interview earlier this month, is one of seven women, some of whom are former employees and who posted their own stories about Cuomo. Liss described the governor’s behavior as “harmless flirtation” and did not claim that Cuomo sexually molested her, but she said his actions were part of an “ubiquitous hostile toxic work environment that disproportionately harmed the young women who worked there”.
The investigation into the allegations is proceeding rapidly. Another prosecutor, Charlotte Bennett, said she spoke to independent investigators for four hours on Monday.
Ana Liss said the governor’s office was a toxic work environment and while she did not claim harassment, she felt humiliated as a female employee. She joins two other prosecutors who have already spoken to the independent investigators. Jonathan Dienst from NBC New York reports.
Bennett provided authorities with 120 pages of records from the time of the alleged harassment and other documentary evidence to confirm their allegations, her lawyer Debra Katz said in a statement. Bennett revealed new details about Cuomo’s behavior and what she said was a “sexually hostile work environment,” according to Katz.
“The investigators tried quickly and sensitively to get to the bottom of these allegations,” said Katz. “We remain confident that your investigation will substantiate Charlotte’s allegations of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo and his officers’ failure to comply with reporting requirements under the laws he has signed.”
Cuomo prosecutor Lindsey Boylan was also interviewed by attorney general’s investigators last weekend, her attorney Jill Basinger said later on Monday.
When one of Cuomo’s accusers spoke to investigators for hours on Monday, a new poll was released which found that more than half of New York’s voters don’t want to see the governor’s resignation, even though his list of political allies is tightening. Jonathan Dienst from NBC New York reports.
“The interview shows that the investigators act quickly and take their work seriously,” said Basinger. “We are satisfied with the scope of the investigation and the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your questioning.”
The governor’s office is also under scrutiny after a New York Times report found that those close to Cuomo sent a letter to aides that attacked Boylan’s credibility. The newspaper reports that the letter filed personnel complaints against Boylan and sought to tie her to supporters of former President Donald Trump, implying that her allegations were deliberate and politically motivated.
The idea behind the letter was that former Cuomo helpers – especially women – attach their names to it and mail it. While the letter was sent to a few past counselors and then top current and past aides, it was not clear how many people were asked to sign the letter. It was never published.
A top advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who oversees vaccine distribution in New York, has called Democratic county executives over the past few weeks to review support for the three-time governor currently involved in allegations of wrongdoing. This emerges from two reports published on Sunday.
A poll by Siena College in New York earlier this week found that a majority of voters (50-35 percent) believe Cuomo shouldn’t step down immediately. While 48-34 percent, they say he can continue to do his job as governor effectively.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday reiterated his stance on the governor, saying that Cuomo should resign if the attorney general’s investigation confirms the sexual harassment allegations against him. If that’s the case, he could also be prosecuted, the president said.
“It takes a lot of courage to come up, so it is believed that it should be taken seriously,” Biden said in an interview with ABC News. “And it should be investigated, and that is exactly what is happening now.”
Biden and Cuomo, once close allies, have not spoken since the allegations, officials said. When asked repeatedly about the allegations, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has given the answer that the women should be heard and that the investigation should continue. It was announced throughout the west wing, including the president, that he should not speak to governor staff except to coordinate the coronavirus response.
A poll at Siena College found that despite widespread political claims to the contrary, most New Yorkers do not want the governor to step down.
Cuomo responded to the president’s comments during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, apparently trying to put Biden’s words into perspective.
“Yes, if you commit a crime you will be prosecuted. That’s right. But President Biden said we should conduct an investigation,” Cuomo said over the phone during the press conference. “But the president was asked if he should resign or review first, and the president said there should be a review.”
Meanwhile, the third-term governor’s investigation moved ahead on another front Wednesday when the state assembly hired the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell to lead an impeachment investigation.
One of Davis Polk’s attorneys, Greg Andres, was part of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel team investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and led the successful prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Governor Cuomo received his vaccine in Harlem today as the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior continues, reports Andrew Siff
However, the choice was controversial. Judge Janet DiFiore, an ally of Cuomo, is married to former long-time Davis Polk partner Dennis Glazer – and DiFiore would be impeached in such a case. (The court system issued a statement insisting there was no conflict.)
The appointment was planned by one of the women Cuomo alleged of sexual harassment, Lindsey Boylan, who said she would not cooperate with the investigation.
“What would be the point of survivors speaking to @CarlHeastie investigators on your bogus investigation?” Boylan tweeted. “I’m talking to other women who are not interested in your corrupt, cynical ‘investigation’. Hard pass. “
Boylan tweeted that she believes the congregation’s decision to mandate its judicial committee to investigate the governor “is not designed to be transparent or to act quickly, and there is nothing @NYGovCuomo wants more than time. “
“A lot of us haven’t risked our lives for this crap. I definitely don’t have it, and I definitely won’t, ”she tweeted.
Bennett’s attorneys were also concerned that the law firm was too closely tied to Cuomo in terms of the firm’s previous affiliation with Glazer, a Cuomo political officer. Glazer was with the law firm 30 years before retiring. Cuomo appointed him to the board of directors of a state university and a board of directors that helped select the locations of casinos.
“This is an unacceptable conflict of interest,” said Bennett’s attorney Debra Katz. “While Ms. Bennett is required to cooperate on all appropriate government investigations, including the impeachment investigation, Davis Polk’s involvement gives her a break.”
Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday he would not ask questions or comment on the investigation.
“I’m not going to resign. Find out the facts and we’ll take it from there,” he said.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied touching a woman without her consent.