(New York) New York State Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, was stunned Tuesday by the results of an independent investigation into which he was accused of sexually molesting a dozen women, which he did immediately denied.
Posted on August 3, 2021 at 11:34 am Updated at 5:06 pm
Andréa BAMBINO Agence France-Presse
Despite these rejections, calls for resignation have multiplied in his camp, including President Joe Biden.
“I think he should resign,” said the President of the United States, who is considered a friend of Andrew Cuomo, from the White House.
House Democratic spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi also urged the governor to resign after the release of this explosive 165-page report reinforcing the allegations.
Andrew Cuomo is 63 years old and has been Governor of New York State since 2011, where he was re-elected in 2014 and 2018 and should stand for re-election in 2022. Andrew Cuomo feels increasingly weakened. A radical fall for this seasoned politician who turned out to be a real star at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020.
According to the investigation published on Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo “sexually harassed several women in New York City in violation of federal and state laws,” said prosecutor Letitia James during the interview on his side of the investigation.
The 11 victims include former and current state officials, including a woman who was assigned to the governor’s protection service at the request of Andrew Cuomo after meeting her in November 2017, the report describes.
“Unwanted kisses and hugs,” “inappropriate comments,” inappropriate gestures, the report attributes a long list of misconduct to the governor, who has been accused of indecently handing over his staff.
Andrew Cuomo has again dismissed the charges.
“I’ve never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he replied in a statement filmed from his office.
An investigation into the impeachment of the governor has already been launched in the New York Parliament, and House Democratic leader Carl Heastie promised on Tuesday to expedite the process.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares spoke of an “ongoing criminal investigation” and encouraged potential victims to come forward.
According to the conclusions of the investigation requested by Letitia James, the governor and his staff “also retaliated against at least one member of staff for testifying” against the background of the “toxic work environment” against the governor.
“You couldn’t say no”
“It was a culture where you couldn’t say no to the governor,” summed up Joon Kim, one of the investigators who spoke alongside the prosecutor.
Andrew Cuomo was heard extensively by investigators on July 17th.
In his speech on Tuesday, he tried to deny or relativize the allegations, in particular that he sometimes “kissed people on the forehead, on the cheek” or hugged them, a habit for them. According to him.
In an 85-page document that he then circulated for defense, he included photos of current or former US Presidents Joe Biden, George W. Bush or Barack Obama hugging or kissing other people.
“I now understand that there are generational or cultural problems that, to be honest, I hadn’t fully understood. And I learned from it, ”he added at the beginning of Mea Culpa.
In particular, he said that he hired an expert to establish new rules and procedures to combat sexual harassment within his administration.
Andrew Cuomo, a veteran politician, had risen to the rank of national figure during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many recognizing his skills and instinct in dealing with the situation when New York and its region became the epicenter of the health crisis in the spring of 2020 were .
As some have seen, this governor’s son, a former minister in the Bill Clinton administration and friend of Joe Biden, was running for the White House.
But a year later, his position had been weakened by the first testimony of sexual harassment. He was also in trouble on allegations of downplaying the COVID-19 toll in the state’s nursing homes.