19:56 GMT19 April 2021
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    Andrew Cuomo's two former employees came forward with allegations of sexual harassment at the hands of their ex-boss, claiming he not only hurled salacious remarks about their private lives, but also propositioned them. Cuomo has dismissed most of the accusations.

    Hillary Clinton has had her say on the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, 63, throwing her support behind a kickstarted investigation.

    "These stories are difficult to read, and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to", the former secretary of state asserted, dwelling on the claims targeting her fellow Democrat.

    She went on to express gladness at there being a "full, independent, and thorough investigation". She thereby joined other politicians backing the probe.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 15, 2020
    © REUTERS / ANDREW KELLY
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 15, 2020

    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted the other day that the "detailed accounts of sexual harassment" by Cuomo's two aides "are extremely serious and painful to read".

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for his part, said in a statement that the probe must be "led by someone fully independent of the governor", adding that the allegations against Cuomo are "disturbing".

    "(President Biden) believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect and with dignity", White House press secretary Jen Psaki weighed in on the matter on Sunday.

    "It was hard to read that story as a woman".

    Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old health policy adviser in the governor's administration until she quit in November, complained, speaking to The New York Times, about Cuomo having allegedly asked her inappropriate questions about her personal life, like, for instance, whether she had ever had sex with "an older man".

    Another woman, Lindsey Boylan, 36, ex-special adviser to the governor and a former deputy secretary for economic development, had earlier accused Cuomo, 63, of giving her an unwanted kiss and dropping inappropriate remarks in her direction. 

    The governor addressed the allegations in a statement he issued last week. He posited he had never inappropriately touched or gone after anyone, dismissing the claims of improprieties, but adding though that he could have mocked or teased people about their personal lives in an attempt to be "playful". Later, on Sunday, he admitted for the first time that on a number of occasions, his behaviour with women "may have been insensitive or too personal".

    "I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that", he said, stressing his office would cooperate with the attorney general's probe.
    New York State Attorney General Letitia James during a news conference at her office in New York
    © AP Photo / Richard Drew
    New York State Attorney General Letitia James during a news conference at her office in New York

    New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday that she's moving forward with the investigation after receiving a letter from his office formally authorising her to be in charge of the probe, after several days of a tug of war over who will lead it. Cuomo's referral letter entitles James to tap an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry with full subpoena power. 

    As soon as the investigation into the matter is over, the findings will be disclosed in a public report, the letter has it.

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    investigation, New York, probe, harassment, sexual abuse
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