14:44 GMT15 April 2021
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    The embattled New York governor is facing growing pressure to step down amid claims of harassment and sexual misconduct by many former members of his staff, as well as allegations that his office's demands that nursing homes take in Covid-positive patients may have been responsible for thousands of preventable deaths.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared before the media on Friday to again deny claims that he sexually harassed female employees and to stress that he has no plans to resign.

    "I did not do what has been alleged. Period," Cuomo said at a press conference. "I won't speculate about people's possible motives, but I can tell you, as a former attorney general who has gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation. And that is why you need to know the facts before you make the decision," the governor added.

    "There are now two reviews underway. No one wants them to happen more quickly and more thoroughly than I do. Let them do it," Cuomo said, referring to probes into allegations made by two former female aides that he made a series of unwanted, sexually-charged comments, and in one of the cases - unwanted groping and kissing.

    A total of six women have now come forward to accuse Cuomo of inappropriate behaviour, five of them people he has worked with and one woman he reportedly met at a wedding.

    "There are facts, and then there are opinions. I've always separated the two," the embattled governor suggested, going on to criticise his erstwhile allies for attacking him. "Politicians who don't know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous," he said.

    "The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance. That my friends is politics at its worst," Cuomo said, noting that office-holders often take positions for reasons including political expediency and bowing to pressure and cancel culture.

    The governor's comments come in the wake of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to join a growing chorus of Democratic officials and others calling on Cuomo to resign as new allegations surface from his sixth accuser. De Blasio called the allegations as "absolutely unacceptable" and "disgusting" and said Cuomo "can no longer serve as governor."

    Nursing Home Allegations

    The New York Assembly announced Thursday that it had taken the first steps toward kicking off an impeachment investigation against the governor, with the probe related to both the sexual harassment claims and the arguably far more serious nursing home Covid death-related allegations.

    In January, New York Attorney General Letitia James reported that Cuomo's office had understated the state's nursing home Covid death tolls by as much as 50 percent, with a cover-up allegedly meant at least in part to hide the consequences of the governor's policy of readmitting coronavirus-positive persons to care facilities, which in turn sparked a surge of infections and fatalities among elderly residents. Authorities estimate that the true number of deaths may have reached over 13,000, far above the 8,711 officially reported.

    The allegations against Cuomo have sparked a domino effect of claims that officials in other states may have made the same policy error, with Peter Lucido, a prosecutor in Michigan's Macomb County, announcing this week that he would investigate Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Covid policies for long-term care facilities. Media investigations suggest that authorities in other states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, may have issued similar "deadly nursing home orders" during the pandemic.

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