New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could possibly face criminal charges following allegations of sexual harassment from several women in the past week, including one claim that the governor kissed her without consent in his Manhattan office.
In the past week, former aide Lindsey Boylan and White House photographer Anna Ruch both recalled incidents of Cuomo allegedly getting handsy, including an unwanted kiss to the former in July 2018.
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Cuomo has denied kissing Boylan in a statement released over the weekend, calling his behavior as “playful,” while dismissing the allegations and saying he never intended to act inappropriately.
However, as New York Attorney General Letitia James investigates the sexual harassment allegations, Cuomo could also potentially face criminal charges, though the state would have to empower James to launch a criminal investigation.
A criminal probe could potentially lead to a misdemeanor or possible violation, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said in the Times-Union.
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“At some point there’s a reckoning at the end of (the governor’s referral) where it either gets referred to a (district attorney) or Letitia seeks to be designated as a prosecutorial agency,” he said.
Currently, James only the authority to compel testimony and the production of documents, but not pursuant to criminal procedure law under state mandates. However, there are provisions in the law that could grant the Attorney General authority to launch a criminal investigation.
According to the report, to pursue a criminal case, Boylan would have to file a formal complaint, which could be in either Albany or Manhattan, where the governor allegedly had one-on-one encounters with her.
If the investigation into Cuomo leads to a felony conviction, Cuomo could be removed from office.
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