Andrew Cuomo accuser says governor had a preoccupation with ‘large size of his hands’

Charlotte Bennett spoke to investigators for four hours about ‘sexually hostile work environment’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Monday 15 March 2021 22:08
Cuomo urges people to wait for 'the facts' before forming an opinion

One of the women who has accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment has claimed he was obsessed with the size of his hands “and what the large size of his hands indicated”.

Following a four-hour meeting between accuser Charlotte Bennett and investigators on Monday, attorney Debra Katz released a statement in which Ms Bennett detailed allegations of sexual harassment and provided 120 pages of contemporaneous records and documents to support her claims.

“[Ms Bennett] also provided detailed information about the sexually hostile work environment the governor fostered in both his Manhattan and Albany offices and his deliberate effort to create rivalries and tension among female staffers on whom he bestowed attention," Ms Katz said in the statement.

"One piece of new information that came to light today was the governor’s preoccupation with his hand size and what the large size of his hands indicated to Charlotte and other members of his staff.”

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment on claims he was preoccupied with the size of his hands.

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The former Cuomo aide first alleged in The New York Times that the governor asked about her sex life when the two were alone in his office in June 2020, including whether she had slept with older men or was involved with other staff members.

Mr Cuomo has repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing and has apologised for any comments or photos that made women feel uncomfortable. He is cooperating with investigations by the state's attorney general Letitia James.

At a press conference last week, the governor rejected calls to resign and said Democratic colleagues demanding he step down were "reckless" and that New Yorkers knew the difference between the truth and "bowing to cancel culture".

Mr Cuomo's use of cancel culture as a defence spurred comparisons with the playbook of the former president, who has campaigned on both the dangers of the cancel culture mob and the sized of his hands.

The size of Mr Trump's hands has been a long-running insult aimed at hitting the ex-president where it hurts most, right in the ego, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi most recently saying she would pull him out of the White House by his "little hands and feet" following the election defeat.

It dates backs almost 30 years to a description of Mr Trump as a "short-fingered vulgarian" by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, who said he wrote the comment in 1988 "just to drive him a little bit crazy".

But it was popularised during the Republican presidential primary by Marco Rubio, who responded to Mr Trump's "Little Marco" insult with a more political version of "I know you are but what am I".

"He's always calling me 'little Marco', and I'll admit he's taller than me, he's like 6' 2", which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5' 2”," Mr Rubio joked.

"Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands [pause for effect as the crowd laughed] you can't trust them."

The ribbing may have ended there if not for Mr Trump making it an on-going issue during the Republican primary. During the Fox News debate in Ohio, Mr Trump said Mr Rubio "hit' his hands but that he "guaranteed" there is no problem.

"Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this," Mr Trump said.

"Look at those hands," Trump said on the debate stage, holding up his hands to the audience. "Are they small hands? And he referred to my hands – if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee you."

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