US started inquiry into Cuomo sexual harassment claims

New York officials have disclosed that the U.S. Department of Justice began a civil inquiry in August into sexual harassment claims made against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Via AP news wire
Friday 03 December 2021 02:55
Cuomo-Sexual Harassment
Cuomo-Sexual Harassment

The U.S. Department of Justice began a civil inquiry in August into sexual harassment claims made against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo New York officials disclosed Thursday.

The exact nature of the inquiry and its current status was unclear.

The office of Gov. Kathy Hochul who took office when Cuomo resigned in August, said it hired a law firm in October to handle “matters relating to ongoing investigations inherited from the previous administration,” and that one of those matters was an investigation by the Justice Department's civil rights division and the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn

"As this is an ongoing investigation, we will not comment further at this time,” said Hochul's press secretary, Hazel Crampton-Hays.

The law firm's hiring was initially disclosed in a contract made public Thursday as a result of public records requests by several news organizations.

The contract said the firm, Willkie Farr and Gallagher, is representing the governor's office in several investigations related to the previous administration, including a Justice Department inquiry “related to sexual harassment claims made against the then-governor.”

Cuomo announced he would resign Aug. 10, one week after an investigative report commissioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded he had sexually harassed 11 women. His last day in office was Aug. 23.

Cuomo’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, said the former governor had been made aware of the inquiry.

“Our understanding is that the civil division opened an inquiry in August based upon the AG’s politically motivated sham report and we have heard nothing since,” he said.

Justice Department spokespeople declined to comment.

The department's civil rights division has some enforcement powers under federal anti-discrimination law. It launched an initiative in 2018 to fight sexual harassment of government employees and handles complaints made under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Cuomo has acknowledged making comments to some women that made them uncomfortable, including jokes interpreted as unwanted flirtation, but he has denied sexually harassing anyone or touching anyone inappropriately.

The Albany County sheriff filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo this fall accusing him of groping a female aide at the governor's mansion in late 2020. His arraignment on the charge has been postponed until at least January while the county district attorney investigates the allegations.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in