Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday continued to question the integrity of Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into the numerous sexual harassment allegations that have been lodged against him.
“I have concerns as to the independence of the reviewers,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “That's what I've said. And is this all happening in a political system? Yes, that is undeniable.”
Cuomo authorized the attorney general's investigation on February 28, after the first three women stepped forward to accuse the governor of inappropriate behavior. Numerous other women came forward in the weeks after the investigation was first launched.
At first, Cuomo urged New Yorkers and lawmakers to “trust the process,” but more recently the governor’s office has started to accuse AG James of using the investigation to further her political interests and potentially challenge Cuomo in a primary election in 2022.
James' office chose independent attorneys Joon Kim and Anne Clark to lead the investigation. Investigators have spoken with several aides in the governor's office, as well as the women themselves. Cuomo was scheduled to sit for an interview with investigators on July 17, according to numerous sources.
When pressed further on Monday what specific concerns Cuomo has about the independent investigators hired by the AG’s office, Cuomo skirted the question.
“Do a little history. Go to Google,” Cuomo said.
The governor presumably is referring to Kim, one of the top prosecutors appointed to lead the probe. Kim was a part of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s team which investigated Cuomo’s closure of the Moreland Commission. This commission was charged with looking into corruption in state government several years ago.
Cuomo has continued to deny any wrongdoing, and on Monday said, “Let the process continue; let the facts come out. I'm very eager to get the facts to the people of this state. And I think when they hear the actual facts of what happened and how the situation has been handled, I think they're going to be shocked, shocked. Because at the end of the day, the truth, wins and facts win.”
This is not the only investigation that Cuomo is facing.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee also launched an impeachment investigation into not only the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, but also the administration’s alleged cover-up of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, potential state resources being used to write Cuomo’s pandemic book and more.
This impeachment investigation being led by the Assembly has drawn widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle for not appearing independent enough, since the law firm hired has ties to not only Cuomo, but one of the former lawyers is married to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, a Cuomo appointee and close ally. DiFiore would also sit as a juror in the state Senate if there were to ever be an impeachment trial.
Cuomo, however, seemed to place more faith in this investigation rather than that of the attorney general.
“The Assembly investigation is broader and has a broader mandate and is independent,” Cuomo said.