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NEW YORK, NY – Controversy continues to plague the Cuomo Administration, as the attorney for one of the women who have accused Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment is now alleging that the New York Governor is actively interfering with the ongoing independent probe – overseen by the NYS Attorney General’s office – into his reported conduct.
Debra Katz, the lawyer for Charlotte Bennett – a former aide of Cuomo – referred to a recent report that alleges lawyers from the Governor’s office have been meeting with staff before their interviews with the AG’s investigators, as well as accompanying the same staffers during said interviews and “debriefing” them afterwards.
Katz wrote in a letter to Attorney General Letitia James, essentially alleging that the staffers being interviewed by independent investigators were being coached or even coerced beforehand.
“This is highly improper and we object in the strongest possible terms to this obvious interference with what you have stated would be a ‘thorough and independent’ investigation,” she said in the letter.
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Katz also spoke with CBS2, where she accused Cuomo of attempting to “intimidate” witnesses in the investigation.
“What the governor is doing is classic intimidation of witnesses 101,” she said. “Trying to know what witnesses are telling investigators after their interviews or asking to come along is clearly designed to chill people’s willingness to speak to investigators.”
Launched earlier in March, the independent probe is being headed up by former acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim and veteran employment lawyer Anne Clark. Bennett has accused Cuomo of inquiring about her sex life and making her feel like he wanted to sleep with her. So far nine women, many of them former or current staffers in his administration, have come forward with accusations of varying degrees of sexual harassment, leading to bipartisan calls for Cuomo’s resignation and/or impeachment.
Cuomo has denied the accusations and has so far refused to step down, although he did apologize if his behavior made anyone feel “uncomfortable.”