Six and counting: Another woman lines up to accuse NY Gov Cuomo of sexual harassment

Six and counting: Another woman lines up to accuse NY Gov Cuomo of sexual harassment

A former member of Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Chamber staff has come forward to say she was harassed by him – making her the sixth on a growing list of women reportedly harassed by the four-term New York governor.

The woman, whose name has not been made public, claimed Cuomo “inappropriately touched her” in the governor’s mansion, where she had been sent to do some work for the governor late at night.

The governor’s reported encounter with the latest accuser happened at the end of last year, though Cuomo’s office claimed he was only notified on Monday by an official close to the matter. Last week, he submitted a referral letter to state Attorney General Letitia James, green-lighting the probes into his harassment and efforts to cover up thousands of nursing home deaths by Covid-19.

Cuomo attempted to wriggle out from under the investigation by pleading with James to appoint his own judicial cronies, though he was not successful. His initial attempts to have ‘friendly’ judges and prosecutors put in charge of the proceedings were rejected, twice, as he tried to convince James to proceed with clear conflicts of interest regarding state politics.

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New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City.  © AFP / SPENCER PLATT
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Some of the most powerful members of both political parties – including State Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins (D) and Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D) – have urged Cuomo to resign in the last few weeks so as not to take away attention from the Covid-19 pandemic and reopening the economy. However, he has so far been reluctant to even consider the idea.

Nevertheless, his general counsel Kumiki Gibson has resigned, her departure planned for Friday. She will be replaced by Beth Garvey, who has already been “handling” the sexual harassment cases against the governor. 

Among the other women who have accused Cuomo of inappropriate comments and touching are Lindsey Boylan, who detailed how Cuomo creepily asked her to play strip poker on a private plane and kissed her without her permission. She was the first woman to come forward with her story of harassment by the New York governor, and observed that Cuomo’s bullying nature had likely kept numerous other victims out of the spotlight.

Over the weekend, Charlotte Bennett spoke out about Cuomo having asked her whether she’d dated older men and “implying” to her that she was “old enough for him” and that “he was lonely.” Cuomo himself has dismissed all the allegations thus far as “things I have said be[ing] interpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”

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Andrew Cuomo speaks at a Covid-19 vaccination site in New York City, March 8, 2021 © Reuters / Seth Wenig
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While most of the news coverage of Cuomo since the sexual harassment allegation has glossed over the thousands of dead New Yorkers who perished thanks to Cuomo’s nursing home order requiring that the facility not test incoming residents for Covid-19. Vanishingly few outlets have continued to cover the governor’s malfeasance with regard to counting nursing home Covid-19 deaths.

Several female lawmakers have actually been asked to sign a statement arguing against Cuomo’s resignation, deeming it “premature” and an act that would “undermine” the role of AG James. The press release, delivered Tuesday, suggested James must be “empowered to conduct through probe of governor.” As of Tuesday evening local time, 21 women had their signatures included on the press release, which among other lines includes “Our democracy demands that we be diligent and expeditious in our search for truth and justice. This matter deserves no less degree of care.”

Meanwhile, in a heavy-handed metaphor, New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge – which Cuomo had renamed for his father Mario Cuomo just a few years ago – is literally falling to pieces, with dozens of bolts raining down from the unfinished span and making successful operation all but impossible due to safety risks. 

READ MORE: ‘The time has come’: New York’s GOP lawmakers launch bid to impeach Governor Cuomo over sexual-harassment allegations

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