New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s monthslong fall from grace reached a nadir Tuesday, when investigators said they substantiated sexual harassment allegations against him from 11 women, many of whom have worked for him.
Cuomo, once widely beloved for his telegenic response to the coronavirus pandemic, continues to deny the allegations and maintains he isn’t going anywhere — but his political future might soon be out of his own hands.
These are the key takeaways and Cuomo’s response to the report. And what next?
WHAT WAS CUOMO ACCUSED TO DO?
Multiple women accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and assault. The public accusations, which began in December and continued throughout the winter, included inappropriate comments, forced kisses, and groping.
DID THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S PROBE FIND CUOMO GUILTY
No. The probe cannot find any guilty party — that is for the judge and jury. The probe was civil in nature and not criminal. However, investigators found that the 11 women had told the truth about Cuomo and that Cuomo created an environment hostile to work “rife in fear and intimidation”.
BUT, WILL CUOMO BE CHARGED?
Letitia James, the State Attorney General, was responsible for the investigation. She said that there would not be a criminal referral, but that local police and prosecutors could use the evidence and findings in their own cases. Albany’s district attorney said Tuesday that he would request James’ investigative materials. He encouraged victims to come forward.
CUOMO TOLD PUBLIC TO WAIT UNTIL HE JUDGES HIM UNTIL EACH INVESTIGATION WAS COMPLETED. WHAT DO YOU SAY NOW?
Cuomo is more defiant than ever, refuting allegations in a taped response and saying “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed” and that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.” He also alleged that the investigation itself was fueled by “politics and bias.”
HOW DOES CUOMO EXPLAIN HIS BEHAVIOR
Cuomo apologized for making staffers feel uncomfortable, but chalked up some of the allegations to misunderstandings caused by generational and cultural differences (he’s Italian American) while flat-out denying the more serious allegations. Cuomo, along with multiple slideshows showing Cuomo and others hugging members of the public, said that the gesture was an inherited one from his parents.
IS ANYONE PRESSURING CUOMO RESIGNMENT?
There are many people. President Joe Biden — once Cuomo’s close ally — said Tuesday that, while he hadn’t read the report, he thought Cuomo should quit. He should resign, according to both the U.S. senators from New York, Chuck Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand. The U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other Democrats also support his resignation.
OK, SO WHAT NEXT IF CUOMO RESIGNS?
According to Speaker Carl Heastie (a Democrat) who stated that it was clear that Cuomo couldn’t continue in office, the state Assembly has the power of bringing impeachment proceedings against Cuomo. In theory, the Assembly could vote to initiate impeachment proceedings prior to the end of the probe.
WHY CAN’T NEW YORKERS RECALL CUOMO
California is not the only place that this happens. New York has no mechanism to remove elected officials via recall.
FINE. HOW DOES IMPEACHMENT IN NEW YORK WORK?
New York impeachments start in the Assembly, and if a majority of members vote to impeach Cuomo, the matter moves to the Impeachment Court. This court would consist of the state Senate, its majority leader and seven judges from the highest court. Cuomo would have to be convicted by two-thirds vote of the court.
HAS A GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK EVER BEEN IMPEACHED?
In 1913, once. Governor. After less than one year in office, William Sulzer was removed. He claimed that his impeachment was in retribution to the powerful Tammany Hall Democratic Machine.
CUOMO LEAVES OFFICE. WHO WOULD BE MADE GOVERNOR?
Kathy Hochul, the 62-year-old lieutenant governor. The Democrat from western New York once served in Congress, but has a limited public profile in the state.
IS CUOMO AVAILABLE IN ANY OTHER TROUBLE
James is also investigating whether Cuomo violated the law by having his staff write and promote “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic.” He was expected to make more than $5million for this book. __S.47__
WOULD VOTERS SAY HE IS NOT OUSTED IF HE IS?
So far, all signs point to him running for a fourth term in 2022, and he has begun fundraising. A poll earlier this year indicated that Cuomo’s popularity had declined, but not significantly. Other Democrats have not officially challenged Cuomo in the primary. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, and Andrew Giuliani (son of Rudy).
WAS THIS PROBE POLITICAL?
James denied any political motives and has not stated publicly whether she would like to run for governor. While her office oversaw the probe, it was conducted by two outside lawyers, Anne Clark and Joon Kim, who spoke with 179 people — including Cuomo himself.
DID THE INVESTIGATION UNCOVER ANY ALLEGATIONS WE DON’T NOW KNOW?
According to the report, Cuomo touched Cuomo’s stomach with his fingers and ran his fingers across her back. He also kissed her cheek and asked her for help finding a girl. A woman who worked for an energy company claimed that Cuomo touched her chest at an events and brushed his hands between her breasts and shoulder.
HOW DID CUOMO RETALIATE AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE ANTIQUE?
The former employee in question is Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s first public accuser. Investigators said Cuomo’s team sent reporters Boylan’s personnel records within hours of Boylan’s December tweet alleging sexual harassment. They also said the governor’s circle circulated a letter that “attacked” Boylan’s alleged work conduct and theorized she was funded by far-right Republicans.
WHAT WERE CUOMO’S ACCUSERS’ RESPONSES to THE REPORT?
Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to whom Cuomo personally apologized in a taped response to the findings, called the apology “meaningless” and said that if the governor were truly sorry, he would step down. Two accusers’ lawyers called Cuomo’s response “laughable” and “manipulative.” Boylan expressed his gratitude to investigators.
WILL CUOMO TALK ABOUT THIS ON HIS BROTHER’S SHOW?
Most likely not. Chris Cuomo is the brother of the governor and anchor for CNN. The fraternal twins — sons of the deceased Gov. Mario Cuomo and his fraternal brother, Chris Cuomo, were the first to make headlines during the pandemic.