Andrew Cuomo has been keeping a low profile in his last days as New York Governor. And in his second-to-last day on office, the state dealt with heavy rain from Tropical Storm Henri. Cuomo appeared in a televised press briefing with top state officials to talk about the response to the storm, adding that he will still leave office as planned. Cuomo has continued to insist that he did not touch anyone inappropriately and that the allegations against him are false. But it’s clear that he’s avoiding any accountability and even snapped at a report for asking about it. A Cuomo never changes, but we knew that.
During Cuomo’s most recent Hurricane Henri news conference, he lashed out at a Law Journal reporter for asking him about the sexual harassment scandals. The reporter asked about potential retaliation against accuser Charlotte Bennett, a former Cuomo aide whose credibility has been questioned by Cuomo’s attorney. Cuomo lashed out at the reporter, lecturing him that the press briefing is about the storm and to “save lives of New Yorkers.”
“If you think justice is to accept a complaint from a person, without investigation, and without credibility determinations, and without looking at past actions of a person, then you don’t know what the justice system is,” Cuomo said.
Ironically enough, Cuomo has been strongly opposed to the investigation into his own COVID-19 nursing home reports. That sentiment also flies out the window when you recall how Democrats treated the investigations of former President Donald Trump and an associate justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Reporters have continued to press Cuomo in his impending resignation and whether or not he can focus on the hurricane given his current scandals.
Everything came crashing down for Cuomo after state Attorney General Letitia James led an investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The investigators found that Cuomo did sexually harass multiple women, including former staffers, by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, hugging, and inappropriate comments. The report also concludes that Cuomo fostered a toxic and hostile workplace that violated numerous state and federal laws, as well as the Executive Chamber’s own written policies.
“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law. I am grateful to all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail, enabling investigators to get to the truth. No man — no matter how powerful — can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period,” AG James said shortly after releasing the report.
The 168-page bombshell investigation forced Gov. Cuomo to quit his third term and pack up his stuff at the Albany Executive mansion. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over as governor on Tuesday night. Cuomo, however, has been kicking and screaming throughout the entire investigation, even after his resignation.
Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s personal attorney, recently held an online event to talk about parts of the investigation. Reporters were not allowed to ask questions during the streaming. Glavin spent most of the time attempting to undercut Cuomo’s 11 accusers by focusing on the minor details and footnotes of the report. She pointed to one unidentified victim in the report, State Entity Employee Number 1, and insists that she had worked for an affiliated organization. She called it a “throwaway line” and claimed that the women worked for an entity that is affiliated with the state, but not the actual state entity. It was a minor detail that did nothing to discredit any part of the actual claim.
Glavin also pointed to one of the emails describing the encounter with State Entity Employee Number 1. The report said that the governor was taking a picture with the woman when he put his hand on her butt, tapped it twice, and then grabbed it. Glavin insists that the email, where Cuomo’s harassment was documented, only mentioned him “patting the employee’s rear,” but not explicitly mentioning that it was “grabbed” by the governor. Again, minor details that do nothing to discredit the sexual harassment charges. It’s just another way to spin the words (and the narrative).
Cuomo has continued to plead with New Yorkers to “ditch Albany politics” in order to take the storm seriously. But it’s more than Albany politics. The report revealed that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, covered up the deaths of 15,000 nursing home patients that he caused, used taxpayer money to produce and push a pandemic leadership book, and even prioritized his family getting vaccinations over the citizens he swore to protect. Don’t New Yorkers deserve any sort of accountability or explanation? It’s more than Albany politics and everyone’s going to keep talking about it. As they should.