Is This Finally It for Andrew Cuomo?

In March, when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requested the state lawyer basic, Letitia James, to analyze accusations of sexual harassment and different office abuse that had been made towards him, it was tough to think about him believing that such an inquiry would clear his title. But it purchased him time. No sooner had Cuomo referred the matter to James than he and his allies started to dismiss the calls for him to resign or be impeached as “anti-democratic” violations of “due process.” He pleaded with the general public to droop judgment. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion,” Cuomo mentioned, at a press convention. “The attorney general is doing that review, I will fully coöperate with it, and then you will have the facts.”

On Tuesday, we obtained the info. James launched a hundred-and-sixty-five-page report detailing the outcomes of her investigators’ five-month probe. Its conclusions are overwhelming and damning. The Governor, the report states, “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment under federal and New York State law.” He groped and kissed and touched folks with out consent, made sexual and offensive feedback, and oversaw an workplace during which a tradition of “fear and intimidation” reigned; retaliation was engaged in and condoned. The investigators discovered eleven girls who accused the Governor of inappropriate conduct—together with Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, two former aides who, in February, grew to become the primary to publicly accuse Cuomo—and located all of them credible. Their accounts held up via an inquiry that included interviews with greater than 100 and fifty folks and the overview of some seventy-four thousand pages of paperwork. The investigators, in the meantime, deemed the Governor’s denials “contrived” and “inconsistent with the weight of the evidence obtained.”

The report is full of alarming and beforehand unreported particulars. A state trooper advised the investigators that she was transferred to the Governor’s safety element after catching his eye at an occasion in 2017, regardless of not having the requisite expertise for the job. “Ha ha they changed the minimum from 3 years to 2,” a colleague e-mailed her. “Just for you.” Cuomo subsequently sexually harassed the trooper on the job, working a hand throughout her stomach, a finger throughout her again, and making feedback about her love life and intercourse drive. A health care provider working for the state Department of Health advised the investigators that Cuomo made suggestive feedback to her earlier than and through a press convention in March, 2020, when she carried out a COVID-19 nasal-swab take a look at on the Governor. “Nice to see you, doctor,” Cuomo mentioned, in entrance of the assembled press. “You make that gown look good.”

The investigators reviewed communications and different materials written by the Governor’s aides, and located that his denials rang false even to these round him. “I’m disgusted that Andrew Cuomo—a man who understands subtle power dynamics and power plays better than almost anyone in the planet—is giving this loopy excuse of not knowing he made women feel uncomfortable,” a senior employees member wrote in her diary, in March. “Either he knew exactly what he was doing (likely) or he is so narcissistic that he thought all women wanted these kinds of questions.” After Bennett gave an interview to the Times accusing Cuomo of grooming and propositioning her, the report states, a “former senior staff member” texted a “current senior staff member” to say, “What’s crazy is if you or I did what is alleged we’d be fired on the spot no questions asked . . . and it would be the right thing too.” The report additionally particulars the makes an attempt made by Cuomo, his aides, and his allies—together with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo—to beat again the story after the allegations got here to dominate the information. The investigators, particularly, appeared into how the Governor’s workplace released confidential documents associated to Boylan’s time within the administration, and decided that the leak of these paperwork—which detailed unrelated complaints made towards Boylan by different administration staff—constituted “unlawful retaliation.” The focus of Cuomo’s aides and allies, the report states, “was not on determining the truth of Ms. Boylan’s assertions . . . but on protecting the Governor.”

Perhaps probably the most telling and dismaying element within the voluminous report seems on the very first web page. In a footnote, the investigators clarify that lots of the folks they interviewed, together with a number of of the accusers, “expressed concern and fear over retaliation and requested that, to the extent possible, their identities not be disclosed.” The investigators honored that request. That the Governor of the State of New York has created an environment during which residents are afraid to talk overtly with the state’s high law-enforcement workplace is an insupportable political scenario and a scandal in its personal proper. The fears of those that requested anonymity are comprehensible—earlier than the probe was over, nobody in New York politics may say for certain that Cuomo would endure any penalties because of it.

Cuomo’s response to the lawyer basic’s report was characteristically defiant. In a video assertion, a number of hours after the discharge of the report, Cuomo denied any wrongdoing. Despite his earlier pleas for folks to “wait” for the lawyer basic’s investigation to conclude, he waved away its significance. “Trial by newspaper or biased reviews are not the way to find the facts in this matter,” he mentioned, earlier than elevating the chance that he would now face authorized motion from his accusers. “I welcome the opportunity for a full and fair review before a judge and a jury.” This needs to be thought of a laughable try to purchase time but once more.

For a number of months this spring and summer season, it appeared like maybe Cuomo’s delaying tactic would possibly truly work. After a number of allegations emerged, New York political figures starting from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio known as on him to resign, as did many within the state legislature. But then, because the weeks handed, an uneasy stasis took maintain. A state finances obtained accomplished. The information moved on. The Governor obtained busy elevating cash for a reëlection marketing campaign subsequent 12 months. Yet, on Tuesday, inside hours of the discharge of James’s report, there have been indicators that the stasis won’t maintain. Joe Biden, who had earlier stopped simply in need of calling for Cuomo’s ouster, got here out towards him. “I think he should resign,” the President mentioned on Tuesday afternoon. Eric Adams, the presumptive next mayor of New York, who had stood out throughout the metropolis’s Democratic mayoral primaries this spring by refusing to name for Cuomo to go, and who appeared with Cuomo at an occasion a number of days in the past, issued a press release saying, “It is now the duty of the Assembly to take swift and appropriate action and move forward with impeachment proceedings if the Governor will not resign.” Alphonso David, Cuomo’s former chief counsel, who’s now the president of the Human Rights Campaign, tweeted late Tuesday, “After reading the AG’s devastating report that concluded Gov. Cuomo engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment, in violation of both federal and state law, he should resign.”

Cuomo’s assertion made it sound like he nonetheless has no intention of resigning, which leaves New York State just about again the place it was on the finish of February, earlier than James’s investigation started: ready to see if the state legislature will transfer ahead with impeachment proceedings. On Tuesday afternoon, Democrats within the State Assembly held a convention name to debate the scenario. Afterward, Carl Heastie, the Assembly speaker, who performed a pivotal position this winter in slowing a rush to an impeachment vote, stymying the efforts of Cuomo’s most vocal critics at key junctures, launched a press release as unequivocal as any that he has issued for the reason that accusations towards Cuomo first grew to become public. “After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General’s report concerning sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie mentioned. “Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.” Cuomo is prone to preserve calling for due course of. But many others imagine he already obtained it.

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