Cuomo’s team attacks state report after staff member files criminal complaint against governor

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New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office held firm in its report released Tuesday, saying Cuomo’s legal team denouncing the underlying process “has damaged the credibility of women.” Separately, Cuomo’s attorneys have scanned the first known criminal report of an accuser filed against him regarding allegations of sexual misconduct.

The governor in his testimony denied touching inappropriately at the accuser, while facing increasing legal and political pressure, including calls for his resignation or impeachment.

During a virtual briefing lasting over an hour on Friday, Cuomo’s legal team attacked the AG’s report and the process by which it was released. Paul Fishman, an attorney representing the governor’s office, said James’s office refused to provide a copy of its report to Cuomo’s office and “people whose conduct would be discussed” before it was released. Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, accused the report of being “conducted in a manner that supports a predetermined narrative.” Glavin continued, “This was not a truth-seeking exercise.”

When Glavin was asked by CNN about how the accusers – including a state soldier on the governor’s protection details – who are cited in the attorney general’s report would be protected from potential retaliation, the attorney said said, “People are not going to be retaliated against by Governor Cuomo.”

Glavin told CNN she should consult with her client – the governor – to confirm whether or not the state soldier was still part of the governor’s security information.

Glavin also said Cuomo would deal with the state soldier’s allegation of misconduct, but did not specify when.

The attorney general’s office responded to the Cuomo team’s allegations on Friday, saying they had “attacked the credibility” of women who alleged sexual harassment against the governor, as well as the investigation into their allegations, according to Fabien Levy , press secretary and senior advisor to James.

“The independent investigators selected are widely respected professionals recognized for their legal and investigative capacity. Attacking this investigation and attempting to undermine and politicize this process takes away the courage that these women demonstrate, ”Levy said.

An “evolutionary production” of transcripts of interviews with witnesses after the appropriate drafting will be made available to the state assembly, he added.

Debra Katz, the lawyer representing Charlotte Bennett – the second woman to go public with allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo – said on Friday that the governor “made it clear that he would continue his fight to stay in power, regardless people he hurt and the consequences of his actions. “

Katz also called on the New York State Assembly “to act”. CNN reported that the Assembly impeachment investigation into various misconduct allegations against Cuomo is nearing completion. As part of that process, Cuomo’s team has said it will submit additional documents to the Assembly Judiciary Committee before the August 13 deadline.

Criminal complaint

The first known criminal report filed against the governor regarding allegations of sexual misconduct was confirmed to CNN by an attorney representing the anonymous accuser and a second source with direct knowledge. The Albany sheriff’s office told CNN they have scheduled a press conference at noon on Saturday where they are expected to deal with the complaint.

Albany County Deputy Sheriff William Rice confirmed to CNN that a criminal complaint was filed Thursday by an anonymous accuser, but he did not go into details of the complaint. The governor’s office informed Albany police of the allegation several months ago. Cuomo’s attorneys are not concerned about the criminal complaint, according to a directly-informed source. “Not in the least,” the source said when asked if the legal team was worried about the complaint. “There is no proof.”

The anonymous accuser held an informal interview to discuss her allegations against the governor at the Albany sheriff’s office on Thursday, her lawyer said.

She was informed that the sheriff’s office and the Albany district attorney were getting all the relevant information from the attorney general’s investigators and would proceed from there, according to her attorney.

The woman, identified only as “Executive Assistant 1”, was among 11 women who accused Cuomo of sexually harassing them, according to the AG report.

“Executive Assistant 1” told investigators Cuomo grabbed her buttocks during hugs and a photo, according to the report.
The state attorney general’s report also detailed an allegation, previously reported by the Albany Times Union, of an incident on November 16, 2020 at the governor’s mansion in which Cuomo allegedly slipped under her blouse and grabbed her chest.

The woman testified, “And I remember thinking to myself who – I knew what had just happened, I knew and he also knew it was wrong. And I never invited him to. that or asked. I I did not want it. I have the impression that I am being abused … “

According to the report, Executive Assistant No. 1 kept the incident to herself and planned to take it “to the grave” until she watched Cuomo’s press conference in March in which he spoke. said he had “never touched anyone inappropriately”.

The report also detailed allegations that Cuomo made inappropriate comments about the appearance and personal life of Executive Assistant No.1, including repeatedly asking her if she had cheated or would cheat on her husband.

The woman also testified that Cuomo would hug her and kiss her on the check and, on at least one occasion in early 2020, kiss her on the lips.

The report states that Cuomo denied any recollection of kissing Executive Assistant No.1 on the lips and said he regularly hugged the assistant, but claimed that it was she who was “the” initiator of hugs “.

Asked to respond to the complaint on Friday, Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor at Cuomo, only responded, “As we said previously, we proactively made a referral almost four months ago in accordance with state policies. “

In a March statement, acting attorney for Governor Beth Garvey said that under state policy, when allegations of “physical contact” are made, an agency notifies a person who files a complaint. complaint that she should contact her local police department. .

“If they refuse, the agency has an obligation to contact each other and notify the department of the allegation,” Garvey said in the statement. “In this case, the person is represented by a lawyer and when the lawyer confirmed that the client did not want to make a report, the state informed the police department and gave them the lawyer information.”

CNN reported earlier this week that Albany County Attorney’s Office David Soares had requested investigative documents from James’s office regarding the Cuomo report. The Soares office said on Friday that it “would not confirm these reports and that no documents or information would be disclosed and released from our office at this time.”

Several other New York prosecutors’ offices have requested additional investigative information from the state’s investigation into sexual harassment of Cuomo, saying they needed the documents to determine whether the incidents in their jurisdictions constituted criminal actions.

The attorney general’s investigation was civilian in nature and James said in his press conference on Tuesday that there would be no criminal action from his office following. Investigators, however, said Cuomo’s alleged behavior violated both federal and federal law.

Paul Callan, a CNN legal analyst, wrote that the claims of Executive Assistant No. 1, if true, “would not only be a form of civilian sexual harassment under federal and state law, but could also constitute the criminal offense of sexual abuse in the Third Diploma under current New York law. “

CORRECTION: A previous version of this title and story distorted the accuser’s employment status. She is currently employed in the governor’s office. The story has also been updated with additional background information.

This story was updated with additional information on Friday.

CNN’s Mark Morales and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.


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