The leader of the state Assembly, which has the power to bring impeachment charges, said it was clear Cuomo could no longer remain in office. Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said he would move to complete an impeachment inquiry “as quickly as possible.”
Cuomo remained defiant, saying in a taped response to the findings that “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed” and that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
In a telephone conversation with Heastie, Cuomo insisted he wouldn’t leave office and told the speaker he needed to work with fellow Democrats and garner enough votes to stop an impeachment, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
But Heastie said he couldn’t do that, said the person, who could not publicly discuss details of the private conversation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The almost five-month, non-criminal probe, supervised by New York’s attorney general and led by two outside lawyers, concluded that 11 women from within and outside state government were telling the truth when they said Cuomo had touched them inappropriately, commented on their appearance or made suggestive comments about their sex lives.
Those accusers included an aide who said Cuomo groped her breast at the governor’s mansion and a state trooper on his security detail who said he ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and her back.
Anne Clark, who started the probe with former U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, said the charges had different degrees of corroboration, including other observers and contemporaneous text messages. Investigators interviewed 179 people, including the governor himself.
“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture: Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Many of the women said they dreaded punishment if they reported Cuomo’s performance, investigators said, calling his administration as a hostile workplace “rife with fear and intimidation.”
In one case, the probe discovered, Cuomo’s team took action “intended to discredit and disparage” an accuser — Lindsey Boylan, the first former employee to publicly accuse him of wrongdoing — including leaking confidential personnel files and drafting a letter attacking her credibility.