sunny.png
Friday June 18th, 2021 1:56PM

Andrew Cuomo accuser speaks with investigators for 4 hours

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to return to the business of governing Monday, one of his sexual harassment accusers met via Zoom for more than four hours with investigators working for the state attorney general’s office.

During the interview, Charlotte Bennett revealed new details about Cuomo's behavior and what she said was a “sexually hostile work environment,” according to her lawyer, including a claim the governor frequently made suggestive remarks about the size of his hands.

“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,” her lawyer, Debra Katz, said in a statement.

Bennett also provided investigators with 120 pages of records to corroborate her accusations, according to Katz.

Bennett, 25, is one of a number of women who have accused Cuomo of workplace harassment. Some have said Cuomo demeaned them with pet nicknames or objectifying remarks about their appearance, subjected them to unwanted kisses and touches or asked them about their sex lives. A few, including Bennett, said they believed the governor was probing their interest in a sexual relationship.

Cuomo also faces an allegation that he groped a female staff member under her shirt after summoning her to the governor's mansion in Albany late last year.

The claims have led to a chorus of Cuomo's fellow Democrats demanding his resignation, including, on Friday, both of New York's U.S. senators.

Even as he remained overshadowed by scandal, Cuomo has tried to press on and project normalcy.

Monday he appeared at a vaccination site on Long Island and talked about the importance of getting a new state budget done by an April 1 deadline — one he said was critical to getting the state back on its feet.

That's a process that normally involves intense negotiations and deal-making between Cuomo and the two top leaders in the Legislature.

This year, though, Cuomo is having to negotiate with people who have demanded that he step down. More than 130 state lawmakers have said Cuomo should resign, including Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The state Assembly has opened up an impeachment investigation.

“The majority of the Legislature has called for his impeachment or resignation,” Baruch College political science professor Doug Muzzio said. “So I mean, you know, how can you work with a legislature that is composed of his antagonists? It doesn’t work.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he would try.

“I’m going to proceed as if it’s a normal negotiation,” he said.

Sen. John Liu, a Queens Democrat on the Senate finance committee, said the allegations surrounding Cuomo have distracted him and lawmakers. He said Democrats who now have veto-proof supermajorities are hoping Cuomo will support long-stalled efforts to legalize marijuana and raise taxes on New Yorkers making more than a million dollars.

“The governor is clearly distracted and that’s not going to help his position,” Liu said. “At the very minimum, he’s facing serious investigations as well as calls for his resignation. None of that adds to his negotiating position.”

Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat of Manhattan, said budget discussions with Cuomo’s staff are ongoing and called the overall dynamic “awkward to say the least.”

“It’s not everyday that you and your colleagues demand the head of your party to step down and proceed with a negotiation,” Hoylman, who chairs the Senate's judiciary committee and sits on its finance committee, said. “I also think it speaks to why so many of us are concerned with these swirling scandals and the ability for the executive to manage this situation.”

The attorney general, James, last week named a former federal prosecutor, Joon Kim, and employment discrimination attorney Anne Clark to lead the Cuomo investigation. They have full subpoena power and will document their findings in a public report.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he'll “fully cooperate.” His office didn’t immediately comment Monday when asked about Bennett’s interview with investigators.

The attorney general's investigation is on top of scrutiny that Cuomo is facing from federal prosecutors who are scrutinizing how his administration handled data on COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Daniel Feldman, who served as a state lawmaker from 1981 to 1998, said the governor is in the tough position of needing political support from a Legislature that’s increasingly said he’s lost his ability to lead.

He pointed to former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who quit in 2008 after admitting he paid for sex with prostitutes.

“It was said at that time, that had Spitzer maintained cordial relations with a majority of the Legislature, he would not have resigned and if he was impeached he wouldn’t have been convicted,” Feldman said.

Cuomo has insisted he won't let himself be distracted and he won't resign.

At his event at the Long Island vaccination site Monday, from which reporters were barred, ostensibly because of COVID-19 restrictions, the governor didn't address the scandal but did speak generally of comebacks in the face of adversity.

“Sometimes, God comes and he knocks you on your rear end for one reason or another, or life comes and knocks you on your rear end for one reason or another,” Cuomo said in a comment that was intended to reference the state’s situation, but could also apply to his personal troubles.

”The question is what you do when you get knocked on your rear end. And New Yorkers get up, and they get up stronger, and they learn the lesson.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Stanford tops NCAA women's brackets; NC State gets top seed
North Carolina State, Connecticut, South Carolina and Stanford are the No. 1 seeds for the women's NCAA Tournament
7:58PM ( 8 minutes ago )
3 die when car hits 9 people in San Diego homeless camp
San Diego authorities say a driver plowed through a sidewalk homeless encampment Monday in downtown San Diego, killing three people and injuring six others
7:52PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Andrew Cuomo accuser speaks with investigators for 4 hours
One of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment accusers met with investigators working for the state attorney general’s office for more than four hours Monday via Zoom
7:48PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'I don’t need the vaccine': GOP worries threaten virus fight
There is a growing partisan split when it comes to COVID vaccines
7:13PM ( 53 minutes ago )
Indiana fires Miller, raises private money to cover buyout
Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson has fired coach Archie Miller after four mediocre seasons
6:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
Immigrant teens to be housed at Dallas convention center
The U.S. government plans to house up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers at a convention center in downtown Dallas as it struggles to find space for a surge of migrant families who have inundated the border and strained the immigration system just two months into the Biden administration
6:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
'Mank' leads Oscar nominations in a year of record diversity
Academy Awards nominations went to two female filmmakers for the first time and a historically diverse slate of actors
5:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Stocks extend gains for fifth day, led by technology shares
Stocks bounced back from a wobbly start Monday to notch a fifth-straight gain, as Wall Street continued to eye the bond market
4:52PM ( 3 hours ago )
Automakers embrace electric vehicles. But what about buyers?
From small SUVs to giant pickup trucks, automakers plan to roll out 22 new electric vehicles in the U.S. this year
4:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
With NIL reform in limbo, NCAA heading toward busy June
The NCAA’s efforts to allow athletes to earn money from personal endorsement and sponsorship deals are stuck in limbo and June is shaping up to be a potentially busy and important month for college sports
7:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
Voting underway in coronavirus-affected Dutch election
Socially distanced voters are casting their ballots in churches, conference centers and even the national parliament on the first day of a Dutch general election
3:06PM ( 5 hours ago )
Security officials to scale back fencing around US Capitol
Security officials are starting to scale back the perimeter fencing surrounding the Capitol
2:44PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Australians rally at Parliament to demand justice for women
Australians have rallied in several cities demanding justice for women and calling out dangerous workplace cultures as the government reels from two rape allegations
5:32AM ( 14 hours ago )
Denied benefits, Chinese single moms press for change
Sarah Gao, a single mom, has been to court three times since 2017 to try to get her maternity benefits
4:25AM ( 15 hours ago )
EXPLAINER: Myanmar using martial law to 'legitimize' tactics
Myanmar’s ruling junta has imposed martial law in parts of the country’s biggest city, a day after at least 38 people were killed in the bloodiest crackdown yet on resistance to last month’s military coup
4:15AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
US air travel rises to highest levels yet since pandemic hit
Air travel is gaining altitude
6:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Some CDC guidance under Trump short of standards
U.S. health officials say some of the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration fell short of the agency’s standards
6:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Georgia to open vaccinations for most adults
Georgia threw open the doors for COVID-19 vaccination to a majority of adults Monday, as the state seeks to improve its worst-in-the-nation share of the population that has been inoculated against the respiratory illness
5:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Stanford tops NCAA women's brackets; NC State gets top seed
North Carolina State, Connecticut, South Carolina and Stanford are the No. 1 seeds for the women's NCAA Tournament
7:58PM ( 8 minutes ago )
3 die when car hits 9 people in San Diego homeless camp
San Diego authorities say a driver plowed through a sidewalk homeless encampment Monday in downtown San Diego, killing three people and injuring six others
7:52PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Riz Ahmed, Leslie Odom Jr, Chloe Zhao react to Oscar nods
Riz Ahmed says he greeted his best actor Oscar nomination with quiet thanks, but leapt for joy when he heard co-star Paul Raci and writer-director Darius Marder's names called on Monday
7:39PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Defense in ex-cop's trial fears impact of $27M settlement
The defense attorney for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death says he’s “gravely concerned” that last week’s announcement of a $27 million settlement for Floyd’s family makes it impossible for his client to get a fair trial
7:39PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Georgia prosecutor investigating Trump call urges patience
The Georgia prosecutor investigating potential efforts by Donald Trump to influence last year’s general election is urging people to be patient
7:37PM ( 28 minutes ago )