Assembly impeachment investigation concludes Cuomo engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment

Cuomo Under Fire

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Following the investigation of hundreds of thousands of documents, the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee has released a report from law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLC.

The documents, which include texts, emails, videos, emails and more, were examined after former governor Andrew Cuomo began facing allegations of harassment and misconduct.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had charged the Judiciary Committee with figuring out if there was evidence that supported the allegations against Cuomo, and in turn, enough to justify impeaching him.

“This has been a profoundly sad chapter in New York’s history. I commend Chairman Charles Lavine, the members of the Judiciary Committee and the team at Davis Polk for their hard work and diligence in completing this investigation,” Heastie said. “I also want to acknowledge everyone who participated in all of the investigations for their cooperation, particularly the brave women who stepped forward. As we have throughout this process, we will continue to cooperate with all relevant investigative bodies to provide them with the evidence we have uncovered.”

MORE | Read Assemblyman Lavine’s letter to Heastie here.

The law firm looked into the sexual harassment allegations, the publication of Cuomo’s book last year, the safety of state bridges and the controversy surrounding COVID-19’s effect on nursing home residents.

The report concluded that Cuomo engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment, created a hostile work environment, used state resources in the creation and promotion of his book, and was not fully transparent about nursing home deaths.

MORE | Read the investigation report here.

This past August, Cuomo resigned as New York Governor after a report from the New York State Attorney General’s Office said he sexually harassed multiple women. He had been in office since 2011.

Following his exit from office, then-Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a western New York native, took over as Governor.

Hochul will serve as Governor until the end of 2022, but plans to run again to keep her position.

MORE | Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns following sexual harassment allegations; resignation to take effect in two weeks

Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesman, released a statement in response to this on Monday afternoon:

“Any report that uses the Attorney General’s politically biased investigation as a basis is going to be equally flawed. To date we have not been allowed the opportunity to review evidence in the Assembly’s possession, despite requests to do so and due process was certainly not afforded here. 

Once again, the fact that an employee entered and exited the Executive Mansion as part of her job was never in dispute and once again this report offers no evidence to support any allegation. What is interesting is that the Assembly didn’t even try to prove Tish James’ bogus ’11 legal violations,’ and instead only focused on two. When all the facts are fairly weighed there will be none.

To be clear, the people who volunteered to work on the book were people mentioned in the book and therefore they were involved to make sure the representations concerning them were accurate. Staff who volunteered took time off, evidencing that they were volunteering and not on state time. Any suggestion to the contrary is Assembly hype. The people who volunteered were senior members in the administration and were highly sophisticated in terms of official activities and volunteer activities and had performed both many times in the past. During the time period in question Robert Mujica, Beth Garvey, James Malatras, Melissa DeRosa, Gareth Rhodes, and Stephanie Benton, all mentioned in the book, reviewed it at no cost to the state. Junior staff working on Covid materials were not helping on the book, but were helping on the state’s Covid response. 

The Assembly report is hypocritical, revisionist and damns themselves as the Assembly effectively forces employees to volunteer on their political partisan campaigns as standard practice and if they want to debate it we welcome it. Let them start by disclosing which staffers also do political work. Will the Judiciary committee members that raised the issue disclose their staff members who volunteer to work on their campaigns and if not why not?

They apparently couldn’t find a similar distraction from priority testing after we pointed out the hypocrisy that multiple Assembly members, including members of this very committee, along with staff and family members, were provided testing when asked. That’s why the matter was dropped altogether from the report. However, the Assembly’s duplicity must not be allowed to go unanswered. They must disclose what members, staff and family members received priority testing. They were highly critical of priority testing, but are now silent on who in their house received such testing. They must stop their cover-up.

“The conclusions that the DOH report on nursing home COVID transmissions was accurate, that there was no evidence that the March 25 order resulted in additional fatalities and that we received constant reassurances from the Thruway Authority that the bridge was safe by no means suggests that this was a fair and balanced report. 

The truth will come out.”

Rich Azzopardi

Cuomo Under Fire

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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