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Cuomo remains silent as calls for an investigation into his conduct grow

Feb 26, 2021 6:44 am

Edward McKinley and Emilie Munson are reporting for the Times Union a bipartisan group of New York officials are calling for an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, but it is unclear at this point who would conduct that investigation and how insulated it would be from the many tentacles of the Cuomo administration. The calls for an investigation increased Thu., Feb. 25, one day after a former aide to the governor published an essay alleging he kissed her without her consent and engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment. The governor's office has denied the charges. Steven M. Cohen, a longtime aide and Cuomo loyalist, spoke to the media on the governor's behalf Thursday morning as Cuomo remained silent. The governor has not done a press briefing in several days, despite having one on his schedule Wednesday. In his comments, Cohen avoided a detailed response to the claims of former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan who this week alleged that Cuomo had routinely commented on her appearance and touched her arms, back and legs, once asked her to play strip poker on a private plane and kissed her without consent in 2018. Cohen said he has known Cuomo for more than 30 years and that his conduct in Cohen's presence had always been “appropriate, not that it’s always fun-loving and a good time; but it has always been appropriate, and he pushes to get results. And I think those results are obvious to everyone.” Republicans were quick to jump on the Boylan story, calling for an investigation or even Cuomo's resignation, and outside groups and other Democrats began weighing in as well. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — who has spoken out for years against workplace sexual harassment and sexual violence — said in a Thursday press call that she had not yet read Boylan's essay but had seen news reports about it. "These allegations are serious and deeply concerning and anyone has a right to come forward to be heard and to have allegations be investigated. ...," Gillibrand said. Asked to comment on the matter Allison Biasotti, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he "has said many times that sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated, and that any credible allegation should be thoroughly investigated." An independent investigation into the allegations could potentially be handled by a special prosecutor, a bipartisan legislative panel, the state attorney general's office or the Albany County district attorney's office. Five Republican state senators — all women — wrote a letter to Attorney General Letitia James late Wednesday saying that Cuomo's alleged actions "are not only grossly inappropriate — they are also potentially criminal in nature." They called for a special prosecutor to investigate the claims. The attorney general's office has not responded. Read the full story in the Times Union.