NY Mayor Calls for Criminal Charges Against Cuomo as Prosecutors Seek Evidence From Harassment Probe
20:05 GMT 04.08.2021 (Updated: 00:38 GMT 05.08.2021)
© REUTERS / MIKE SEGARNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks with the skyline of Manhattan behind him from the One World Trade Center Tower while making an announcement in New York City, New York, U.S., June 15, 2021.
© REUTERS / MIKE SEGAR
In light of the recent findings from an independent investigation ordered by the New York Attorney General’s Office, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been called to resign from his post after the probe determined that he allegedly made numerous sexual advances on aides throughout his governorship. He has denied the accusation and refused to resign.
As a chorus of US lawmakers and state officials have urged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down from his post, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has doubled down and called for the governor to be criminally charged for sexually harassing nearly a dozen current and former staffers.
Appearing on “CBS This Morning” early Wednesday, de Blasio told show hosts Gayle King and Anthony Mason, as well as lead national correspondent David Begnaud, that Cuomo needed to be subjected to the full extent of the law.
“If you assault a woman, you do something against her will sexually, that's criminal,” de Blasio told Begnaud when asked about potential criminal charges. “And the Albany County district attorney is looking at that, and I think he should be charged.”
“The whole thing has been so painful. When you read this report - 11 women systematically wronged, 11 women affronted by a powerful guy who could crush their career and their reputation, and he's the kind of guy that everyone assumes would if you crossed them," he added.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 4, 2021
The findings detailed throughout the 168-page report included various instances of “unwelcome and nonconsensual touching” that Cuomo carried out during his governorship in addition to encounters in which he made sexually suggestive remarks to female staffers. Announcing the report’s conclusions, New York Attorney General Letitia James described the report as being riddled with “deeply disturbing” revelations.
One piece of evidence released by James included a selfie that included Cuomo and an aide only identified as “Executive Assistant #1.” That photo is said to have been taken shortly before Cuomo proceeded to allegedly grope the woman as the pair were working in his office at the Governor’s Mansion on New Year’s Eve in 2019.
Cuomo has adamantly denied any and all sexual harassment allegations, having questionably explained that his touchy-feely embraces with others is rooted in “cultural” and “generational” differences. In fact, Cuomo’s pre-recorded response to the report included a variety of photos in which he was either kissing or closely embracing prominent figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama. That same content was included in an 85-page rebuttal released by Cuomo later Tuesday.
© REUTERS / Office of Gov. Andrew M. CuomoNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo makes a statement in this screen grab taken from a pre-recorded video released by Office of the NY Governor, in New York, U.S., August 3, 2021.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo makes a statement in this screen grab taken from a pre-recorded video released by Office of the NY Governor, in New York, U.S., August 3, 2021.
© REUTERS / Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
To this effect, de Blasio shot down the explanation when it was referenced by King. “Putting your hand up a woman's shirt and touching their breast is not generational. I know plenty of guys who are older who would never in a million years do that," he stated matter-of-factly.
“I absolutely believe he must resign for the good of New York state and our people. If he doesn't, the clamor, which is universal at this point [from both] Democrats and Republicans, saying he's gotta go is going to win the day. If he wants to wait for impeachment, he can, but it's coming soon in our state legislature,” he underscored.
De Blasio’s call for criminal charges to be issued against Cuomo came a day after he joined the chorus of individuals pushing for the governor to either resign or be impeached by the state legislature.
District Attorneys Request Evidence From Cuomo Probe
As de Blasio briefly mentioned during the Wednesday appearance, New York district attorneys have already begun the process of submitting a request for evidence stemming from the independent investigation ordered by James’ office.
Early on after the report was released, Albany County District Attorney David Soares confirmed on Tuesday that his office was opening a criminal investigation into the Cuomo revelations. In remarks to “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” Soares remarked that his office has an “obligation” to conduct its own full investigation to determine whether criminal behavior was indeed committed.
Similarly, district attorneys in Manhattan, Nassau County and Westchester County have launched their own such inquiries after the Tuesday-released report detailed incidents that may have occurred in each prosecutors’ jurisdiction.
The investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office into Cuomo’s behavior initially began in March after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in late 2020.