- By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor/July 16th, 2021
(The Center Square) – Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is slated to meet with representatives from state Attorney General Letitia James’ office regarding the numerous sexual harassment allegations he faces, according to news reports.
The New York Times reported Thursday night that Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark, outside lawyers picked by James in March to head the independent inquiry, are likely to be the ones asking questions.
The Times suggested that the meeting could serve as a signal the inquiry is winding down.
The sexual harassment allegations first emerged back in December. Lindsey Boylan, a former adviser, first posted the claims on Twitter. Two months later, in a post on Medium, she provided greater details, including being kissed on the lips during a private meeting with him in his New York City office.
From there, additional allegations emerged from both staffers and women outside of Albany. The claims, some dating back to when he served under former President Bill Clinton as the secretary for Housing and Urban Development more than 20 years ago.
In addition to the attorney general’s inquiry, the state Assembly Judiciary Committee is considering impeaching the governor, with the harassment claims among the possible charges he faces there.
Democratic lawmakers in Albany and Washington, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, called for Cuomo to resign as the claims mounted.
The governor, though, has remained defiant. While he said he would not comment on the investigation, he said back in early March that reports of people feeling “uncomfortable or awkward” were surprising.
“Let’s find out what the facts were,” he said during a March 9 news briefing. “You can allege something. Might be true, might be not true. You may have misperceived. There may be other facts. So, let’s get the facts and that’s what the investigation does. And that’s what the attorney general is doing.”
Beyond the sexual harassment claims, Cuomo also is being investigated by federal officials on claims the administration interfered with state health officials on releasing details about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had in nursing homes. Another investigation by James’ office found that while the state’s death count was correct, the number of deaths attributable to nursing homes was significantly underreported.
There have also been concerns raised about a $5 million deal the governor received last year to write a book on managing the pandemic and whether state workers and resources were used in producing it.
The myriad scandals and investigations surrounding the three-term governor have caused his popularity ratings with voters to plummet over the past year.
A Siena poll released two weeks ago showed that only 45% of all surveyed registered voters viewed Cuomo favorably, compared to 47% who found him unfavorable. A year ago, a Marist Poll found that two-thirds of registered voters approved of his performance, compared to just 29% who didn’t.
And with 16 months to go – and less than a year from a possible Democratic primary – only 35 percent of voters according to the Siena poll would vote to reelect Cuomo.
In a separate question, 39% wanted him to serve out his term but not run for reelection. That’s compared to 33% who want him to run again and 23% who prefer he resign immediately.
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