Two more former aides to Andrew Cuomo are accusing him of sexual misconduct, bringing the number of women who have publically said they were sexually harassed by the New York governor to five.
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Ana Liss, who was Cuomo's policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, said he kissed her hand, touched her on her lower back, called her sweetheart, and asked if she had a boyfriend. The 35-year-old Liss made her allegations in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Another former aide, Karen Hinton, said Cuomo summoned her to a hotel room, pulled her towards him, and held her in 2000, when they were both in their early 40s, according to a report in The Washington Post.
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Now, men who have worked with Cuomo are also detailing allegedly inappropriate behavior by the governor.
Many former aides and advisers described to The Washington Post what it labeled "a toxic culture in which the governor unleashes searing verbal attacks on subordinates. Some said he seemed to delight in humiliating his employees, particularly in group meetings, and would mock male aides for not being tough enough."
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner told The Washington Post that during a dispute over a transitional housing project in Westchester in the late 80s when Feiner was a county legislator and Cuomo ran a developmental organization, Cuomo told him, “I’m going to destroy your career and break every bone in your body.”
In his only news briefing since detailed accusations began surfacing nearly two weeks ago, Cuomo said on Wednesday, March 3 he was “embarrassed” and that “he's sorry for whatever pain (he) caused anyone," but added, that he "never touched anyone inappropriately."
But one of the women who has publically accused Cuomo, Anna Ruch, was photographed with Cuomo at a 2019 wedding reception in which Cuomo can be seen holding her face.
“The Governor's press conference was full of falsehoods and inaccurate information, and New Yorkers deserve better,” Attorney Deborah S. Katz, who is representing 25-year-old former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, said to Law & Crime. “The Governor repeatedly said he never touched anyone inappropriately. Ms. Ruch's story makes clear that's not accurate.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation, with subpoena power, into the allegations. There are also ongoing investigations in the Cuomo administration's reporting of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo on Wednesday that he won't resign despite many bipartisan calls for him to step down.
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the Attorney General’s report before forming an opinion,” he said. “Let’s get the facts, please, before forming an opinion as the Attorney General does that review, which I will fully cooperate with. Once you have the facts, then make a decision.”
“Some politicians will always play politics. That’s the nature of the beast. I don’t think today is a day for politics. I wasn’t elected by politicians, I was elected by the people of the State of New York.
"I’m not going to resign. I work for the people of the State of New York, they elected me, and I’m going to serve the people of the State of New York."
In an editorial published on Saturday, March 6, the Albany Times-Union called on Cuomo to resign, writing, "Enough. Mr. Cuomo has squandered the public’s trust at a time when it’s needed more than ever." The Times-Union noted it had endorsed Cuomo in his three gubernatorial runs.
According to a New York Times report, Cuomo’s aides rewrote a report from state health officials to conceal the true number of COVID deaths in nursing homes while strengthening his reputation as a leader.
"Mr. Cuomo didn’t trust New Yorkers with the truth," the Times-Union wrote in its editorial. "And now, they could hardly be blamed for not trusting him with their government, much less their lives."
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