Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose political future looked golden eleven months ago, is now struggling to survive after two former aides accused him of sexual harassment, a third woman accused him of making undesirable progress and his administration confirmed data on that COVID-19 Nursing Has Withheld Home Deaths.
The New York governor, now in his third term, faces investigation into both scandals and a growing list of critics, including both Republicans and many of his fellow Democrats. He had refused to relinquish control of the sexual harassment investigation but gave in under pressure and referred the matter to New York Attorney General Letitia James on Sunday.
On the same day, he issued a public apology saying it was “really sorry” if “some of the things I said were misunderstood as undesirable flirtation”.
Here is an overview of the allegations against Cuomo, how he reacted and where the investigation is.
First Prosecutor: Lindsey Boylan
Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s former assistant secretary for economic development and special adviser, wrote one 1,700 word post on the Medium website last week she said she was exposed to undesirable advances from Cuomo during nearly two years of her tenure in the administration.
She said the governor once asked her if she would like to play “strip poker” while on a state plane, and on another one he gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips as she left his office.
Boylan, 36,first made the allegations on Twitter in DecemberBut the story received little national attention at the time when then-President Donald Trump attempted to question the November 3 election results.
Second Prosecutor: Charlotte Bennett
In her Medium contribution, Boylan claimed that Cuomo “created a culture within his administration in which sexual harassment and bullying are so widespread that they are not only tolerated but also expected”. And a second prosecutor came forward on Saturday to support this characterization.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, a former aide who left the Cuomo administration in November, tweeted, “If you’re wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo administrator, read @ LindseyBoylan’s story.”
In a story that ran on Saturday Bennett told the New York Times that Cuomo, 63, had made her uncomfortable with questions about her sex life, whether she would consider dating an older man, and remarking that he was ready to have a relationship “with someone over 22”.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me and felt terribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times.
Third Prosecutor: Anna Ruch
Thirty-three year old Ruch said Cuomo made an undesirable step forward at a wedding in New York City she had met him for the first time in September 2019.
she said The New York Times on Monday, Cuomo placed his hand on her lower back, which was exposed. She then removed his hand, she said, and Cuomo grabbed her face with both hands and asked if he could kiss her. She then withdrew.
“I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Ruch told the Times, which included a photo of the moment Cuomo had his hands on Ruch’s face in its coverage. “I turned my head away and at that moment I had no words.”
Cuomo’s initial responses to harassment allegations
When Boylan first appeared in December, Cuomo said “the tweets just aren’t true”.
“Look, I’ve fought for this and I think a woman has the right to speak up and speak up and express problems and concerns that she has, but it’s just not true,” he said.
The governor’s office reiterated its disapproval after Boylan’s post with Medium last week and released a statement from four current and former aides saying they were on the October 2017 flight on which Cuomo allegedly raised strip poker.
“We were on each of those October flights and that conversation didn’t take place,” they said.
After Bennett spoke to The Times, Cuomo said in a statement: “I have not made any progress against Ms. Bennett, nor have I ever intended to act in an inappropriate manner. The last thing I would have ever wanted was her to let feel. ” of the things that are reported. “
Cuomo apologizes for “misinterpreted” comments
On Sunday, Cuomo apologized for any behavior that offended someone without addressing specific claims against them, aside from a vague reference to questions “raised about some of my previous interactions with coworkers in the office”.
“At work I sometimes think I’m playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I occasionally tease people in ways I think are good-natured. I do it publicly and privately. They’ve seen me do it hundreds Times at briefings, “said Cuomo in his statement. “I raised people about their personal life, relationships, about getting married or not to marry. I don’t mean insult and just try to add a little levity and joke to what is very serious business.
Cuomo said he now realized that he “may have been insensitive or overly personal and that given my position, some of my comments felt others in ways that I never intended”.
“I admit that some of the things I said were misunderstood as unwanted flirtation. If anyone felt that way, I’m really sorry,” he said.
More:While the scandals devour Andrew Cuomo, the candidates are running for governor in 2022
“That is not an excuse”
Many found the governor’s efforts to apologize flawed, including Bennett, who criticized his apology on Monday.
“The governor refused to acknowledge his predatory behavior or take responsibility for it,” said Bennett through her attorney.
“As we know, perpetrators – especially those of tremendous power – are often repeat offenders who use manipulative tactics to reduce allegations, blame victims, deny wrongdoing, and escape consequences,” she said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Cuomo looked like he was “getting off the hook” with his testimony.
“That’s not an excuse,” de Blasio said in a press conference on Monday, adding that Cuomo “appeared to be saying he was just kidding.”
“Sexual harassment is not funny,” he said.
Senator Mike Gianaris of the Democratic State said that instead of apologizing, Cuomo seemed to “shift the blame on the survivors”.
“There is a big difference between ‘I’m sorry if you were offended by what I did’ and ‘I’m sorry for what I did'”. Gianaris told NY1.
NY Attorney General to Select Independent Investigator
Cuomo initially resisted requests to forward the sexual harassment allegations to James so the Attorney General could grant subpoena powers to an independent investigator. Instead, he suggested directing it from former US District Judge Barbara Jones, who once worked as a partner in a law firm with one of Cuomo’s closest advisors.
The proposal was accused of trying to control the investigation and state and federal lawmakers insisting on independence. The White House even weighed in, and press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN, “There should be an independent review of these allegations.”
Next, Cuomo suggested that James and his appointed judge Janet DiFiore select the investigator jointly. After James flatly rejected the idea and criticism, Cuomo agreed to give James sole authority to choose who will conduct the investigation.
Deaths in nursing home COVID-19
Cuomo’s government is already facing a federal investigation into the handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes before calling for an investigation into sexual harassment allegations.
The federal investigation opened after top advisor Melissa DeRosa confirmed it Withholding key dates of death and information from lawmakers and the public after receiving a request from the US Department of Justice last year.
Almost a year ago, Cuomo’s daily press conferences in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US called for a late entry into the overcrowded Democratic presidential primary.
The state-approved undercount of deaths in nursing homes from the coronavirus and the review of a March 25 order to allow nursing home residents in hospitals to return with COVID-19 have put its political future at risk.
More:Cuomo has been a national star for COVID responses. Nursing home deaths have turned that on its head.
The political fallout
In April last year a Siena College poll Cuomo’s job performance rating ranged from 71% positive to 28% negative.
Last week a Marist College Survey 49% of New Yorkers approve of Cuomo’s work as governor, and 44% say they disapprove of the job.
That was before the latest sexual harassment allegations were exposed.
Gianaris, the second largest Democrat in the New York Senate, told NY1 Monday that it was an open question whether or not the governor could move on, given the scandals that have ravaged his administration.
He indicated Cuomo might seek a fourth term as governor. But now not only is his ability to win another term in question, but he is also facing some calls from his own party for his resignation or gain even impeachment.
“You’re a monster and it’s time for you to go. Now” tweeted Senator of the Democratic State Alessandra Biaggi on Saturday.
Even before the sexual harassment allegations hit the headlines, Democratic MP Ron Kim wrote, saying Cuomo threatened to ruin his career for criticizing the deaths in nursing homes a comment for Newsweek on February 22nd entitled “It’s Time to Indict Andrew Cuomo.”
Contributors: Joseph Spector and Jon Campbell, USA TODAY Network’s New York State Team