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De Blasio Calls for 'Full and Independent' Investigation Into Allegations Against Cuomo

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) believes there should be an “independent” investigation into allegations of sexual harassment that have been lodged against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Already mired in controversy surrounding his administration’s handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Cuomo is facing new allegations of sexual harassment.

During a press conference on Thursday, de Blasio said, “These allegations are really disturbing. Let’s be clear about that, they’re really disturbing.”

He continued to argue that “as New Yorkers, we gotta take this seriously.”

“We need a full and independent investigation — I want to emphasize the word independent — by some individual or entity that is not compromised, is not something that is dominated by the governor’s office. But an independent investigation,” he added.

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“Because this is just unacceptable. This kind of behavior, if true, is unacceptable in any public servant… So we gotta get the truth about this.”

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In a post on Medium, former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan accused the governor of sexually harassing her. She wrote that Cuomo made “inappropriate gestures” such as unwanted touching and kissing her on the lips.

She also wrote that at one point, he suggested, “Let’s play strip poker.”

News of the allegations led some state lawmakers to call for an independent investigation as they raised concerns about the independence of the ethics commission that would be the “obvious body” to investigate the allegations.

State Sen. Liz Kruegger (D) claimed that the body with the jurisdiction to investigate the allegations, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), is “compromised and ineffective” and called for a “thorough, transparent, and independent investigation.

State Sen. Julia Salazar (D) also raised concerns about JCOPE as she noted, “[Cuomo] recently named Varlack, an attorney who served in the governor’s administration for four years in a program that’s purpose is basically to hide and evade scandals. This is outrageous.”

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She also quoted an article from the Albany Times Union that read, “Since JCOPE was founded in 2011, all three of the agency’s top staffers had previously held positions working under Cuomo — a pattern that has fed the public perception that the ethics agency lacks independence from the governor.”

“We need a truly independent investigative body,” she added.

In December 2020, Boylan accused Cuomo of sexual harassment as she wrote in a series of tweets, “Yes, [Cuomo] sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched. I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.”

However, she did not provide further details at the time and said she had “no interest in talking to journalists.”

At the time, Cuomo denied her allegations. In a press conference, he said, “I fought for, and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has, but it’s just not true.” 

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