Albany, NY – New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday morning released a bombshell report on her investigation and said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had “sexually harassed multiple women, and in doing so violated federal and state law.”
James made the announcement at a press conference on Aug. 3 to release the 165-page report, complete with interviews with 179 witnesses, CNBC reported.
It also included more than 74,000 records, texts, pictures, and emails that were used as evidence.
The report said the investigation found Cuomo’s office was a hostile work environment rife with fear and intimidation.
The attorney general told reporters that her investigation had determined that the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women, CNBC reported.
The report said Cuomo engaged in nonconsensual touching, groping, kissing, and hugging, and made numerous inappropriate comments to multiple women.
James said Cuomo also retaliated against a former employee who came forward to expose his conduct.
She called the governor’s office a “toxic workplace,” CNBC reported.
The attorney general said the findings in the report revealed “a deeply disturbing, yet clear, picture” of what Cuomo had been doing to members of his staff, state employees, and members of the public.
James’ report claimed that one of the governor’s victims was a New York State Police trooper, CNBC reported.
The trooper told investigators that Cuomo has asked to add her to his protective detail shortly after meeting her in November of 2017, despite the fact she wasn’t qualified.
The report said the trooper alleged the governor had run his hand along her stomach as she held doors for him in the course of her duties, CNBC reported.
The trooper said Cuomo also ran his finger down her neck and back while she stood in front of him in an elevator, kissed her on the cheek in front of another trooper, and made suggestive remarks to her, according to the report.
She also said the governor asked her why she didn’t wear a dress and asked why the trooper would get married when marriage means “your sex drive goes down,” CNBC reported.
The report said Cuomo had asked the trooper to help him find a girlfriend and said he wanted to date a woman who “[c]an handle pain,” CNBC reported.
Other troopers corroborated the female trooper’s stories about the offensive treatment she received at the hands of the governor, and agreed he treated her differently than he treated the male troopers.
The findings of the investigation were released about two weeks after Cuomo was interviewed for 11 hours by investigators for the New York Attorney General’s Office.
The investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and more against the governor was launched in March after a former Cuomo aide went public on Feb. 24 about what had happened to her.
Within two weeks, at least six women had leveled accusations against the governor for harassing and touching them in appropriately.
Some of the incidents occurred inside the governor’s mansion, the Albany Times Union reported.
A bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have called for Cuomo’s resignation but the governor has stubbornly refused to back down.
“The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called her to a private place and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me,” de Blasio said in March. “He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.”
Cuomo has defended himself against all the allegations although he did apologize for having made some women feel uncomfortable.
“I never harassed anyone, I never assaulted anyone, I never abused anyone,” Cuomo told CNBC in March. “I’m not going to resign.”
The governor has also previously suggested that the independent investigation wasn’t being done properly, and pointed to the fact that the attorney general was considered a potential future political rival.
James told reporters she was offended by Cuomo’s attempts to undercut and discredit the investigation, CNBC reported.
“I believe women. And I believe all of these 11 women,” the attorney general said.
The report said that James’ investigators found Cuomo’s “denials and explanations around specific allegations to be contrived,” CNBC reported.
“In his testimony, the Governor suggested that the complainants were—and must be—motivated by politics, animosity, or some other reason,” the report read. “He also expressed his view that this investigation itself—and the investigators conducting the investigation—were politically motivated, an assertion that we saw in the documentary evidence and other witnesses’ testimony was part of the planned response to the investigation almost as soon as it commenced.”
Cuomo released a video response to the bombshell report on Tuesday afternoon and complained about “others” who “feed ugly stories to the press.”
“First, I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately, or made inappropriate sexual advances,” the governor said. “I am 63 years old, I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that’s not who I have ever been.”
Then Cuomo address several of the accusations against him specifically and gave his explanations of what happened, saying he had been “unfairly characterized.”
He went on to claim that one of his accusers confided in him about her prior experience as a sexual assault victim, and said that he had a family member who was a teen sexual assault survivor.
“The truth is that her story resonated deeply with me,” Cuomo said in the video.
He said the accuser was about the same age as that family member and he thought he could help her through a difficult time.
“I know too well the manifestation of sexual assault trauma and the damage it can do in the aftermath. I was trying to make sure she was working her way through it the best she could,” Cuomo said.
CUOMO: "I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances." pic.twitter.com/KpFsCpajsh
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 3, 2021
President Joe Biden had said that if the investigation determined the allegations against the New York governor were true, Cuomo should resign, CNBC reported.
The White House has not yet commented on the findings of James’ report.