NY House clears way for governor’s impeachment for harassment

The New York House on Thursday opened an investigation into State Governor Andrew Cuomo after four of his former employees accused him of sexually harassing them.

With this decision, which sets the stage for the first impeachment effort in more than a century in New York City, the Judicial Committee acquires broad jurisdiction to investigate not only allegations of sexual harassment, but also accusations that its administration covered 100% of deaths in retirement homes during the pandemic.

The governor is going through one of the most turbulent times of his three terms. The green light for the investigation, which came after a more than three-hour meeting between lawmakers, also shows Cuomo has little support from his Democratic Party.

Cuomo denies the charges and has promised to cooperate with the investigation. He even did a mea-culpa, stating that it was his custom to kiss and hug people when he greeted them, apologizing for any behavior that made “people uncomfortable.” .

The announcement of the House decision came on the same day that 59 State House Democrats – roughly 40% of party member seats – signed a statement demanding that Cuomo resign immediately after the harassment allegations. .

“The charges against the governor are serious,” Speaker of the House Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said in a statement, adding that the investigation will include interviews with witnesses, subpoena and assessment. proofs.

Heastie has indicated that he would not move forward with impeachment without the majority of his own Democratic acronym, a common practice for almost every law in the House.

Against the governor, charges of unwanted advances and inappropriate comments are weighed. Former employee Charlotte Bennett, 25, who was an executive assistant and health policy advisor until she left in November, accused him of sexually harassing her last year.

According to the New York Times, Cuomo asked her about her sex life and if she had ever had sex with older men. Bennett said she reported the incident to the chief of staff and was transferred to another post – the US newspaper corroborated her account with interviews with friends and relatives whom she had told about incidents at the time and reviewed text messages and emails.

Bennett’s accusations came days after another former government aide, Lindsey Boylan, supplemented previous allegations of sexual harassment she had made against the governor.

Boylan, who worked at the state’s economic development agency from 2015 to 2018, published an article on Wednesday (24) detailing several years of uncomfortable interactions with the Democrat.

Boylan said her boss at the time told her Cuomo was “hot” for her and that the governor “tried to touch my ass, arms and legs.” In October 2017, on a flight home from an event in western New York, Boylan said, Cuomo said they should “play strip poker.”

The day after the NYT revealed Bennett’s complaints, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for independent inquiries into the allegations of sexual harassment and senior deaths from coronavirus.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday (6) that a former employee said Cuomo sometimes greeted her with a hug and kisses on both cheeks, called her “honey,” kissed her hand and asked her if she had. a boyfriend.

On the same day, the Washington Post reported that another former aide reported that the governor hugged her in a hotel room after a work event.

With Reuters and the New York Times

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