‘I’m embarrassed by what happened’: Governor Cuomo addresses harassment claims

Cuomo Under Fire

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It had been nine days with no sign of Governor Cuomo for any in-person appearances, but today, he held a different kind of COVID-19 briefing.

After Cuomo announced the latest positivity rates and vaccination announcements, the Governor faced the camera to address the recent sexual harassment allegations against him. 

“It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it,” Cuomo said. 

Governor Cuomo said he now understands that he acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. Additionally, he wanted to make a few things clear. 

“I never touched anyone inappropriately,” Cuomo said.

He repeated this phrase several times during the press conference, and the sentence, “I never knew at the time I was making anyone feel uncomfortable.”

During the Q & A portion of the briefing, the picture of the Governor with his hands on either side of Anna Ruch’s face was brought into question. Governor Cuomo said this is his “usual and customary way of greeting” and that “you can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, men, children, etcetera.”

“However, what I also understand, is it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter my intent. What it matters is if anybody was offended by it,” Cuomo said. “I could intend no offense, but if they were offended by it, then it was wrong. If they were offended by it, I apologize.”

News10 ABC’s Stephanie Rivas reached out to Debra Katz, Charlotte Bennett’s lawyer, and she disagreed with the Governor’s statement at the press conference regarding the claims. 

“The Governor’s press conference was full of falsehoods and inaccurate information, and New Yorkers deserve better,” Katz stated. 

“The Governor repeatedly said he had no idea he made anyone uncomfortable. My client, Charlotte Bennett, reported his sexually harassing behavior immediately to his Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel,” Katz stated. 

The Governor said he will fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation and that the facts will come out in the impending review of his actions. 

“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the Attorney General’s report before forming an opinion,” Cuomo said. “I apologized several days ago, I apologize today, and I will apologize again tomorrow. I will apologize the day after.”

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