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Cuomo sends letter authorizing probe of harassment claims

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Cuomo sends letter authorizing probe of harassment claims

NEW YORK (AP) — A ragged aide accusing Unusual York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment condemned him Monday as a manipulative predator, rejecting an attempted apology wherein he excused his behavior as “prankish.”

Charlotte Bennett, who alleges Cuomo quizzed her about her intercourse lifestyles and requested whether she would perhaps well be initiate to a relationship with an older man, said in a assertion that the governor has “refused to acknowledge or grab responsibility for his predatory behavior.”

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“As all people is conscious of, abusers — notably these with huge portions of energy — are often repeat offenders who identify in manipulative ways to diminish allegations, blame victims, hiss wrongdoing and fetch away consequences,” wrote Bennett.

“It took (Cuomo) 24 hours and essential backlash to permit for a if reality be told self reliant investigation,” she added. “These are no longer the actions of any individual who merely feels misunderstood; they’re the actions of a one who wields his energy to lead sure of justice.”

Bennett’s assertion came as Unusual York’s independently elected attorney total said she turned into transferring ahead with an investigation into sexual harassment allegations that Bennett and one other woman, ragged aide Lindsey Boylan, have lodged in opposition to Cuomo.

Attorney General Letitia James got a letter Monday from Cuomo’s office authorizing her to grab trace of the probe after a weekend of wrangling over who would perhaps well mute investigate.

The letter permits James, moreover a Democrat, to deputize an initiate air laws firm to behavior an inquiry with pudgy subpoena energy. The findings shall be disclosed in a public report, the letter said.

“Right here’s no longer a responsibility we grab calmly as allegations of sexual harassment would perhaps well mute consistently be taken seriously,” James said in a assertion.

Cuomo has maintained he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned any individual.

Ross Garber, a prison professional who has represented ragged governors Price Sanford of South Carolina and John Rowland of Connecticut, said Cuomo is “basically handing his recognition to an outsider and asserting, ’Hold at it. Streak get whatever you need and put up a report to the general public about whatever it’s you’ve concluded that I’ve performed or no longer performed.”

Cuomo’s enhance has plummeted amid dual crises, even among fellow Democrats. The harassment allegations come on the heels of accusations he lined up the merely death toll of coronavirus on nursing dwelling residents.

It’s reasonably a tumble for Cuomo, who had been widely accepted for his leadership within the future of the pandemic, notably the daily data conferences the keep he sought to characterize and reassure the general public with charts, graphs and a machismo he dubbed “Unusual York hard.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials have said that while Cuomo is below investigation, he would perhaps well mute cede emergency powers he’s held since the pandemic began, on the field of a year within the past. The Legislature hasn’t taken any steps to revoke Cuomo’s emergency powers — spot to expire April 30 — regardless of a push from Republicans, some Democrats, apart from the SUNY college union.

On Monday, Cuomo retained Broad apple litigator Elkan Abramowitz to characterize him and his office in probes connected to nursing properties.

Abramowitz, who previously represented Cuomo’s office in a federal investigation into his 2014 resolution to shutdown a advise anti-corruption commission, said he isn’t any longer representing Cuomo within the sexual harassment topic.

Bennett, 25, came forward with her allegations in a story printed Saturday within the The Unusual York Situations. She said that Cuomo recommended her he turned into lonely and shopping for a lady friend.

Cuomo did not respond to Bennett’s assertion Monday.

Boylan said Cuomo made putrid comments about her look, kissed her without her consent at the ruin of a meeting and once recommended they play strip poker while aboard his advise-owned jet. Boylan, who’s running for Broad apple borough president, first accused Cuomo in a tweet closing December and elaborated on the allegations in a Medium put up closing week.

Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations as unfounded. In a assertion Sunday, he acknowledged that he had teased of us about their private lives in an strive to be “prankish” and silly. He said he had wished to behave take care of a mentor to Bennett.

“I now realize that my interactions would perhaps well had been insensitive or too private and that some of my comments, given my space, made others if reality be told feel in ways I never supposed. I acknowledge some of the things I’ve said had been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent any individual felt that procedure, I’m if reality be told sorry about that,” he said.

His assertion drew fast backlash from critics who said he turned into throwing responsibility onto the women folks for perceiving his statements wrongly.

The letter authorizing James’ investigation said that every advise employees had been directed to cooperate fully with the overview. Cuomo senior adviser Beth Garvey said she would facilitate interviews with gape and requests for paperwork from Cuomo’s office.

Bennett’s prison professional, Debra Katz, said her consumer will cooperate fully with the attorney total’s investigation.

“We’re confident that no disinterested investigator who evaluations this proof would adopt the Governor’s self-serving characterization of his behavior as mentorship or, at worst, unwanted flirtation,” Katz said. “He turned into no longer acting as a mentor and his remarks were no longer misunderstood by Ms. Bennett. He turned into abusing his energy over her for intercourse. Right here’s textbook sexual harassment.”

Katz said the attorney total must investigate whether Cuomo subjected other ladies folks to a sexually hostile work ambiance, and whether any individual within the Cuomo administration enabled his behavior.

In the starting up, Cuomo seemed desirous to retain a stage of administration over the investigation. His office said it turned into asking a ragged federal assume, Barbara Jones, to behavior the probe. Then, his office recommended that the attorney total and the advise’s high assume work together to appoint initiate air counsel.

Finally, on Sunday, Cuomo acquiesced to James’ calls for that she grab administration.

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Villeneuve reported from Albany, Unusual York. Linked Press reporter Karen Matthews in Unusual York contributed to this report.

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On Twitter, advise Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Marina Villeneuve at twitter.com/ReporterMarina

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Cuomo sends letter authorizing probe of harassment claims