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Cuomo under pressure in harassment probe

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 02:04s - Published
Cuomo under pressure in harassment probe

Cuomo under pressure in harassment probe

New York's top prosecutor rejected a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo for her to pick a lawyer to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against him, after Cuomo's office backtracked on Sunday on a plan to choose its own investigator.

Lisa Bernhard produced this report.

New York's top prosecutor rejected a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo for her to pick a lawyer to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against him, after Cuomo's office backtracked on Sunday on a plan to choose its own investigator.

State Attorney General Letitia James said it was essential that Cuomo instead formally refer the matter to her office for investigation, which would give her subpoena power and ensure an impartial probe.

Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by two former aides, which he has denied.

On Saturday, his administration said it had selected a former federal judge, Barbara Jones, to lead an investigation into the claims. But that failed to satisfy leading Democratic figures, including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who tweeted that "There must be an independent investigation - not one led by an individual selected by the Governor." By Sunday, Cuomo’s office had asked the state's AG and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to pick the investigator, saying it wanted to avoid "even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics." But James responded by saying that the governor needs to make an official referral to her office under the state's executive law.

Only a referral could enable "an investigation with real teeth," a spokesman for James said.

The latest accusation against the governor came on Saturday when a former aide told the New York Times that Cuomo had asked her questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men.

That claim came just days after another former aide alleged the governor made several "inappropriate gestures" toward her.

Cuomo, one of the nation's most well-known Democratic politicians whose popularity soared during the early months of the pandemic, has faced a string of controversies in recent weeks, including how his administration handled high numbers of COVID-19 deaths in the state's nursing homes.




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