Hamilton Journal News

AG wants to lead harassment probe

- By Karen Matthews and Marina Villeneuve

ALBANY, N.Y. — The crisis enveloping Gov. Andrew Cuomo deepened Sunday as the state’s attorney general demanded he grant her the authority to investigat­e claims he sexually harassed at least two women who worked for him.

Democrats statewide appeared to be abandoning Cuomo in large numbers as Attorney General Letitia James rejected two proposals by the governor for an investigat­ion of his conduct.

Under the governor’s first plan, announced Saturday

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by two women.

evening, a retired federal judge would have reviewed his workplace behavior. In the second proposal, announced Sunday morning in an attempt to appease legislativ­e leaders, Cuomo said he had asked James and the state’s chief appeals court judge, Janet DiFiore, to jointly appoint a lawyer to investigat­e the claims and issue a public report.

But James said that plan didn’t go far enough, either.

“I do not accept the governor’s proposal,” she said. “The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigat­e this matter once the governor provides a referral. While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibi­lity to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independen­t investigat­ion with subpoena power can be conducted.”

The plan for James and DiFiore, who was appointed to her position by Cuomo, to choose an investigat­or jointly, also met a cascade of criticism from fellow Democrats who called for him to relinquish all control of the investigat­ion to James.

Under state law, the state attorney general needs a referral from the governor in order to investigat­e his conduct.

The calls for an investigat­ion into Cuomo’s workplace behavior intensifie­d after a second former employee of his administra­tion went public Saturday with claims she had been harassed by the governor.

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SETH WENIG / POOL

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