House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the sexual harassment allegations lodged against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “serious and credible,” while calling for due process for the independent investigation.
Pelosi, who remained muted when Cuomo’s first accuser made her claims public finally broke her silence 24 hours later after a second woman came forward with allegations. In a statement, the House Speaker described the allegations as “serious and credible charges,” and emphasized that both accusers should be “heard and to be treated with dignity.”
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Gov. Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former executive assistant and health policy adviser to Cuomo told her alleged accounts to the New York Times on Saturday. The former aide accused Cuomo of making a series of inappropriate “comments she interpreted as clear overtures to a sexual relationship” all of which the incidents occurred during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic and when the governor soared to national prominence for his “Emmy-award winning” press briefings.
Bennett’s claim, in turn, came less than four days after another former staffer, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for economic development, and a special adviser shared details of her sexual harassment allegation against Cuomo that spanned over several years. Boylan in her bombshell revelation, accused Cuomo of going “out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs,” forcibly kissing her on the lips during a one-on-one briefing, and suggesting that they “play strip poker” during a plane ride.
The House Speaker has now joined a chorus of high-profile Democrats from Cuomo’s home state calling for an unbiased independent investigation into the accusations levied against the three-term New York governor and his behavior.
“Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted. “There must be an independent investigation — not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said the allegations against the three-term governor are “serious and deeply concerning.”
“These allegations are serious and deeply concerning,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “As requested by Attorney General James, the matter should be referred to her office so that she can conduct a transparent, independent, and thorough investigation with subpoena power.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said Sunday she is launching an inquiry and that her office will be the sole authority to investigate with subpoena authority and to appoint an independent investigator to oversee the investigation.
On top of the double sexual allegations, Cuomo, a Democrat and media star is facing political fire from both sides over his handling of its nursing home crisis during the coronavirus pandemic. After Cuomo’s top aide revealed the administration withheld data on the full nursing homes coronavirus death toll out of “fear” of being investigated by Trump’s Department of Justice, calls were slowly growing to probe the governor, both state and nationwide.