New York attorney general Letitia James announced on Monday that her office has received a referral from the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo, allowing for an independent investigation of harassment claims against him.
Former aide Lindsey Boylan has accused Cuomo of kissing her on the lips without consent, while another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, alleges that the governor asked intrusive questions about her sex life, including whether she was willing to sleep with older men. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations but apologized for remarks that were “misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
Politicians including New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, have called for an independent investigation into the matter.
“Today, the executive chamber transmitted a referral letter to our office, providing us the authority to move forward with an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment claims made against Governor Cuomo,” James said in a statement.
“This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously,” the attorney general added. “At the close of the review, the findings will be disclosed in a public report.”
Also on Monday, the Cuomo administration hired former federal prosecutor Elkan Abramowitz as its defense attorney, The Wall Street Journal reported. Abramowitz will represent the administration for both the harassment probe and any investigations into the governor’s handling of data on coronavirus victims in nursing homes.