Hamilton Journal News
AG wants to lead harassment probe
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.