AG James receives referral letter to investigate sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo

NYS Attorney General Letitia James Photo: New York State Attorney General Letitia James Facebook page. NYS Attorney General Letitia James

Updated: March 01, 2021 05:52 PM
Created: March 01, 2021 03:05 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC/AP) — New York Attorney General Letitia James Monday received a referral letter granting her request to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The referral letter allows Attorney General Letitia James to deputize an outside law firm to conduct the inquiry with full subpoena power. When the investigation is finished, the findings will be disclosed in a public report, the letter said.

On Saturday a second former aide accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her, following the release of new details by former aide Lindsey Boylan earlier in the week. Boylan first accused the governor of sexually harassing her back in December.

Sunday James announced she would appoint a special deputy to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations against Gov, Cuomo. That same day, Cuomo admitted in a statement that at work he can sometimes be "playful and make jokes" and that he does often tease people about their personal lives, adding that some of those interactions "could have made others feel in ways he never intended."

The referral came after a weekend of wrangling over who should investigate his workplace behavior. First, Cuomo's office said it would ask a former federal judge to conduct the probe. Then, it suggested James and the state's top judge work together to appoint outside counsel to look into the matter.

Finally, on Sunday, Cuomo acquiesced to James' demands to take control of the inquiry.

Tim Kneeland, a political science professor at Nazareth College, shared his analysis of the situation with News10NBC. Watch the interview in the video in the player below:

The full letter is below:

Dear Attorney General James,

The Governor is hereby making a referral pursuant to Executive Law Section §63 (8) for you to select an independent law firm to conduct an inquiry into allegations of and circumstances surrounding sexual harassment claims made against the Governor. 

As provided in Executive Law §63 (8), that private attorney or private attorneys, may be designated as Special Deputy Attorney General or Assistant Deputy Attorney General, to conduct the review. 

Nothing in this letter is intended to constrain or limit any of the powers inherent in Executive Law §63 (8). Due to the nature of this review, however, the weekly reports contemplated by Executive Law §63 (8) will not be approved by or transmitted to the Executive. At the close of the review, the findings will be disclosed in a public report. 

All New York State employees have been directed to cooperate fully with this review. I will serve as point of contact for any witness interviews or document production for the Executive Chamber and will connect you with appropriate counsel in any other agency or entity for any documents or witnesses necessary for the review.

                          Beth Garvey
                          Special Counsel and Senior Advisor


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