Cuomo says he made women feel ‘uncomfortable’ and asks for independent sexual harassment review

Andrew Cuomo has said he is ‘truly sorry’ and admitted he was ‘insensitive’ in response to sexual harassment claims against him. 

The New York Governor, who is accused of harassing two former aides, said on Sunday that he ‘never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm’. 

The 63-year-old explained that he would often be ‘playful and make jokes that I think are funny… (and) tease people in what I think is a good-natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times.’ 

Cuomo said that his ‘joking’ was an attempt to add ‘levity and banter’ to ‘serious business.’

But he has since acknowledged he may have gone too far and allowed New York Attorney General Letitia James to appoint her own investigators. 

Andrew Cuomo has said New York Attorney General Letitia James can take part in sexual harassment probe - but only if his ally Janet DiFiore works alongside her

Andrew Cuomo has said New York Attorney General Letitia James can take part in sexual harassment probe - but only if his ally Janet DiFiore works alongside her

Andrew Cuomo has said New York Attorney General Letitia James can take part in sexual harassment probe – but only if his ally Janet DiFiore works alongside her

Charlotte Bennett, 25, (pictured) came out on Saturday and said Cuomo told her he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her questions about her personal life in June

Charlotte Bennett, 25, (pictured) came out on Saturday and said Cuomo told her he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her questions about her personal life in June

It comes after Lindsey Boylan, 36, (pictured) claimed he asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017

It comes after Lindsey Boylan, 36, (pictured) claimed he asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017

Charlotte Bennett, 25, (left) came out on Saturday and said Cuomo told her he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her questions about her personal life in June. It comes after Lindsey Boylan, 36, (right) claimed he asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017

‘I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,’ he said.

‘I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.’

Cuomo added: ‘To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.’

The New York governor’s new statement came after Attorney General James rejected his attempt to appoint his own investigator into the allegations and said she expects to receive a ‘referral with subpoena power’ to investigate. 

‘The referral would be made solely to the attorney general’s office,’ James added. ‘This is not a responsibility we take lightly. We will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office, and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation.’

The announcement comes after James called for a ‘truly independent investigation’  to ‘thoroughly review these troubling allegations against the governor.’ 

Cuomo had initially agreed James could handle the probe – but only if his ally, Judge Janet DiFiore, worked alongside her.

But James demanded he refer the entire investigation to her with ‘subpoena power’, saying: ‘To clarify, I do not accept the governor’s proposal. The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral.

‘While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.’ 

Cuomo added that his office heard that people reached out to one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett, 25, to ‘express displeasure’ at her claims. 

‘My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration and you should stop now – period,’ Cuomo said. 

Bennett is the second aide to level sexual harassment allegations at Cuomo. Days earlier Lindsey Boylan, 36, claimed he asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.

Cuomo said he ‘never intended to act in any way that was inappropriate’ with Bennett and his press secretary said Boylan’s claims were ‘false’.    

He had promised a review of the allegations by former federal judge Barbara Jones – who was appointed by Bill Clinton – on Friday. Cuomo was in Clinton’s cabinet as Housing and Urban Development secretary. 

But that decision sparked outrage, with many noting Jones had also worked with Cuomo’s close ally Steven M. Cohen, who has served as secretary to the governor.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday: ‘There must be an independent investigation — not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.’ 

Carl E. Heastie, the Assembly speaker, tweeted: ‘I believe the Attorney General should make an appointment to ensure that it is a truly independent investigation.’

Democratic state senator Liz Krueger said: ‘With all due respect, you can’t pick a federal judge who works with your good friend and decide that that’s going to be the investigator.’

Amid that mounting criticism his office said Sunday that James, who was independently elected, and DiFiore, who was appointed by Cuomo as chief judge of the state’s Court of Appeals, have been asked ‘to jointly select an independent investigator’. 

But James rejected that offer. The governor’s office didn’t immediately comment. Under state law, the state attorney general needs a referral from the governor in order to investigate his conduct.

It was James’ office who last month examined the administration’s failure to tally COVID-19 nursing home residents’ deaths at hospitals. The state then acknowledged the total number of long-term care residents’ deaths is nearly 15,000, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed. 

Amid mounting criticism Cuomo’s office said Sunday that James, pictured, who was independently elected, and DiFiore, who was appointed to the court by Cuomo, have been asked ‘to jointly select an independent investigator’

Janet DiFiore is pictured. Announcing the decision to ask AG James and DiFiore to probe the claims Beth Garvey, the top counsel to the governor, said Sunday: 'The Governor's Office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the Governor to be done in a manner beyond reproach

Janet DiFiore is pictured. Announcing the decision to ask AG James and DiFiore to probe the claims Beth Garvey, the top counsel to the governor, said Sunday: 'The Governor's Office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the Governor to be done in a manner beyond reproach

Janet DiFiore is pictured. Announcing the decision to ask AG James and DiFiore to probe the claims Beth Garvey, the top counsel to the governor, said Sunday: ‘The Governor’s Office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the Governor to be done in a manner beyond reproach

Second accuser Bennett said Saturday Cuomo told her he was open to dating women in their 20s and asked her questions about her personal life in June, at the height of the state’s COVID-19 crisis. 

Announcing the decision to ask AG James and DiFiore to probe her and Boylan’s claims, Beth Garvey, the top counsel to the governor, said Sunday: ‘The Governor’s Office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the Governor to be done in a manner beyond reproach.

‘We had selected former Federal Judge Barbara Jones, with a stellar record for qualifications and integrity, but we want to avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics. 

‘Accordingly we have asked the Attorney General of New York State and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report.

‘The work product will be solely controlled by that independent lawyer personally selected by the Attorney General and Chief Judge.’ 

AG James said Sunday: ‘Allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously. There must be a truly independent investigation to thoroughly review these troubling allegations against the governor, and I stand ready to oversee that investigation and make any appointments necessary.’ 

A total of 25 lawmakers on Sunday backed the attorney general, saying: ‘The governor’s proposal to appoint someone who is not independently elected, has no subpoena authority and no prosecutorial authority is inadequate.’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: There should be an independent review looking into these allegations.’ She said that’s something President Joe Biden supports ‘and we believe should move forward as quickly as possible.’ 

New York state Sen Alessandra Biaggi late Saturday had branded Cuomo a ‘monster’ and called on him to resign as politicians on both sides of the aisle turn their backs on the governor. 

Prominent Democrats who were quiet after Boylan’s allegations came out in force when Bennett’s came to light. 

The New York lawmakers, including Biaggi, Lt Gov Kathy Hochul and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, rejected Cuomo’s suggestion of hiring Jones, some calling for a ‘truly independent probe’ and others saying he needs to resign altogether. 

‘@NYGovCuomo, you are a monster, and it is time for you to go. Now,’ Biaggi, a Democrat from the Bronx, wrote on Twitter.  

Biaggi continued in a statement: ‘As a New Yorker, a legislator, Chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, and a survivor of sexual abuse, I am calling for Governor Cuomo to resign. 

‘I commend the courage of Ms. Bennett and Lindsey Boylan for coming forward.

‘The harassment experienced by these former staffers is part of a clear pattern of abuse and manipulation by the Governor, and that pattern makes him unworthy of holding the highest office in New York.’

New York state Sen Alessandra Biaggi branded Cuomo a 'monster'

New York state Sen Alessandra Biaggi branded Cuomo a 'monster'

New York state Sen Alessandra Biaggi (right) branded Andrew Cuomo (right) a ‘monster’ as politicians on both sides of the aisle turn their backs on the governor after he was accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide

Biaggi, chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, led lawmakers in condemning Cuomo on Saturday

Biaggi, chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, led lawmakers in condemning Cuomo on Saturday

Biaggi, chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, led lawmakers in condemning Cuomo on Saturday

Cuomo’s second-in-command Lt Gov Hochul, called for an independent review into the claims, adding: ‘Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously.’   

Heastie said: ‘All allegations of harassment must be taken seriously. A truly independent investigation is warranted.’

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Cousins said ‘no’ when asked if the investigation called for by Cuomo were sufficient, adding that the new allegations were ‘deeply disturbing and concerning.’

Cuomo promised a review of the allegations by former federal judge Barbara Jones (pictured) on Friday

Cuomo promised a review of the allegations by former federal judge Barbara Jones (pictured) on Friday

Cuomo promised a review of the allegations by former federal judge Barbara Jones (pictured) on Friday

Cousins, a fellow Democrat, is calling for Attorney General Letitia James to claim jurisdiction in the issue.

NYC Mayor hopeful Andrew Yang called for an ‘aggressive independent investigation’, calling for an ‘acknowledgement that harassment has no place in public service.’ 

Another mayoral candidate, Maya Wiley, noted that Cuomo has not outright denied the allegations.  

‘I am disgusted. I believe Charlotte Bennett,’ Wiley said in a statement.

‘Senior officials in the Governor’s office were aware of his behavior … What happened to these complaints? Why was no further action taken? How many other times has this happened?’

State Sen Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said in a statement: ‘This pattern of behavior requires a swift and immediate, independent investigation, the leader of which must be empowered to access all evidence.’ 

Even State Sen James Skoufis, a Democrat who leads the Committee on Investigations and has faced criticism for refusing to subpoena Cuomo and his staff over the nursing home scandal, called for an ‘independent, outside, expeditious investigation’ of the ‘deeply disturbing’ allegations. 

Sen Biaggi, chair of Committee on Ethics and Internal Governance, called for Cuomo to resign in a stinging statement on Saturday

Sen Biaggi, chair of Committee on Ethics and Internal Governance, called for Cuomo to resign in a stinging statement on Saturday

Sen Biaggi, chair of Committee on Ethics and Internal Governance, called for Cuomo to resign in a stinging statement on Saturday

Maya Wiley, who is running for mayor of New York City, said that she was disgusted by the allegations which she said were not denied by Cuomo

Maya Wiley, who is running for mayor of New York City, said that she was disgusted by the allegations which she said were not denied by Cuomo

Maya Wiley, who is running for mayor of New York City, said that she was disgusted by the allegations which she said were not denied by Cuomo

NYC Mayor hopeful Andrew Yang called for an 'aggressive independent investigation,' calling for an 'acknowledgement that harassment has no place in public service'

NYC Mayor hopeful Andrew Yang called for an 'aggressive independent investigation,' calling for an 'acknowledgement that harassment has no place in public service'

NYC Mayor hopeful Andrew Yang called for an ‘aggressive independent investigation,’ calling for an ‘acknowledgement that harassment has no place in public service’

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also called for a 'truly independent investigation'

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also called for a 'truly independent investigation'

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also called for a ‘truly independent investigation’

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Cousins said 'no' when asked if the investigation called for by Cuomo for sufficient, communications director Mike Murphy told NY1 . Murphy added that Cousins was calling for Attorney General Letitia James to claim jurisdiction in the issue

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Cousins said 'no' when asked if the investigation called for by Cuomo for sufficient, communications director Mike Murphy told NY1 . Murphy added that Cousins was calling for Attorney General Letitia James to claim jurisdiction in the issue

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Cousins said ‘no’ when asked if the investigation called for by Cuomo for sufficient, communications director Mike Murphy told NY1 . Murphy added that Cousins was calling for Attorney General Letitia James to claim jurisdiction in the issue

In a crushing blow, Cuomo's second-in-command, Lt Gov Kathy Hochul (pictured), called for an independent review into the allegations on Saturday, saying: 'Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously'

In a crushing blow, Cuomo's second-in-command, Lt Gov Kathy Hochul (pictured), called for an independent review into the allegations on Saturday, saying: 'Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously'

In a crushing blow, Cuomo’s second-in-command, Lt Gov Kathy Hochul (pictured), called for an independent review into the allegations on Saturday, saying: ‘Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously’

US Rep Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat, tweeted: ‘The accused CANNOT appoint the investigator. PERIOD.

‘The continued allegations are deeply disturbing and concerning. The behavior described has no place in the workplace. A truly independent investigation must begin immediately.’

Republicans likewise called for an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James, including state Sens Pam Helming, Daphne Jordan, Patty Ritchie, Sue Serino, Alexis Weik and Nick Langworthy.  

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, said James should appoint a special prosecutor.

‘The review suggested by someone handpicked by the Governor himself, is an outrageous, completely unacceptable idea. We need a truly independent investigation,’ Ortt said in a statement.

Meanwhile a number of high profile female Democrats have so far refused to comment on allegations against Cuomo – despite vilifying conservatives accused of sexual harassment throughout the MeToo era.  

Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren have all not yet released statements regarding the claims.  

Even State Sen James Skoufis, a Democrat who leads the Committee on Investigations and has faced criticism for refusing to subpoena Cuomo and his staff over the nursing home scandal, called for an 'independent, outside, expeditious investigation' of the 'deeply disturbing' allegations

Even State Sen James Skoufis, a Democrat who leads the Committee on Investigations and has faced criticism for refusing to subpoena Cuomo and his staff over the nursing home scandal, called for an 'independent, outside, expeditious investigation' of the 'deeply disturbing' allegations

Even State Sen James Skoufis, a Democrat who leads the Committee on Investigations and has faced criticism for refusing to subpoena Cuomo and his staff over the nursing home scandal, called for an ‘independent, outside, expeditious investigation’ of the ‘deeply disturbing’ allegations

US Rep Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat, tweeted: 'The accused CANNOT appoint the investigator. PERIOD'

US Rep Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat, tweeted: 'The accused CANNOT appoint the investigator. PERIOD'

US Rep Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat, tweeted: ‘The accused CANNOT appoint the investigator. PERIOD’

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, said state Attorney General Letitia James should appoint a special prosecutor

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, said state Attorney General Letitia James should appoint a special prosecutor

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, said state Attorney General Letitia James should appoint a special prosecutor

Andrew Cuomo’s ex-girlfriend of 14-years Sandra Lee wishes ‘peace and loving healing’

Sandra Lee (left) dated Cuomo for more than 14 years

Sandra Lee (left) dated Cuomo for more than 14 years

Sandra Lee (left) dated Cuomo for more than 14 years

Andrew Cuomo‘s ex-girlfriend, Sandra Lee, issued words of ‘healing’ and ‘peace’ to her social media followers just hours after the New York Governor was accused of sexual harassment by a former aide for the second time.

Lee, 54, an Emmy-award winning Food Network chef who dated Cuomo for more than 14-years, wrote to Instagram on Saturday night: ‘Sending everyone peace and loving healing regards from Malibu! The best sunsets ever thank God for the Ocean!’ 

Lee's Instagram post came hours after a bombshell New York Times report outlined claims of sexual harassment from a former aide for the second time

Lee's Instagram post came hours after a bombshell New York Times report outlined claims of sexual harassment from a former aide for the second time

Lee’s Instagram post came hours after a bombshell New York Times report outlined claims of sexual harassment from a former aide for the second time

While Lee’s post didn’t speak directly to the mounting controversy regarding Cuomo, she has previously said they are still in regular contact, despite their split more than a year ago.

‘He’s still my guy. Neither one of us, well as far as I know, has had a date,’ she told the Today show last year, at around the same time Cuomo allegedly came on to Bennett. 

Cuomo and Lee first began dating in 2005, just months after his divorce to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, was finalized.

The pair first met after being introduced by a mutual friend during a cocktail party in the Hamptons. 

Lee has been quoted as saying that she and Cuomo never fought and that he was especially laid-back and mellow – a stark contrast to the way he was described during his bitter divorce.

However, in September 2019, the couple issued a joint statement to announce they were breaking up.

The end of their relationship followed more than a year of speculation, with the couple listing their Mount Kisco home for sale, and Lee skipping two major gubernational events in the months leading up to the announcement. 

‘Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship,’ the pair wrote in their statement. 

Lee is also said to be in regular contact with Cuomo’s three daughters, Michaela, Maria and Cara Kennedy Cuomo.

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Bennett, who was an executive assistant before she resigned in November, claims on numerous occasions, the governor asked her questions about her personal life.

The questions in early June included those that pertained to a romantic relationship between two people of different ages.

Bennett said Cuomo also made comments stating he was open to dating women in their 20s, which she took as overtures to a sexual relationship.

The former aide did state that Cuomo never made an attempt to touch her but added that he was lonely and ‘can’t even hug anyone’.

Bennett says she said she missed hugging her parents, to which she claims he said: ‘No, I mean like really hugged somebody?’

Bennett told the New York Times: ‘I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.

‘And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.’ 

Bennett, who served in a number of roles for Cuomo – including executive assistant and health policy advisor – said the governor made a number of concerning comments to her last spring during the height of the pandemic in the state.

Bennett informed Cuomo’s chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, of the interaction and was transferred to her role as the health policy adviser.

Her new office was in the complete opposite side of the Capitol. She also said she gave a statement to Judith Mogul, special counsel to the governor.

She also told her parents and friends of the encounters, soon after they occurred, informing them of the growing discomfort she had with working with him.

According to her LinkedIn, Bennett is now working at Primary Maternity Care as a Director of Operations.

Bennett said she initially saw Cuomo as a ‘father figure’, telling him she even played middle school soccer against one of his daughters.

‘We got along really well,’ she said, noting that she didn’t think anything of the questions about her dating life at first.

Bennett sent her mother a text on January 20, following an extensive conversation she had with Gov. Cuomo.

‘Had a really long convo with Gov today,’ she texted, telling her mother of the two-hour talk she had with Cuomo.

‘He had a lot to say and was very emotional and serious but also asked a lot of questions,’ she wrote. ‘He got emotional. Not me.’

As she transitioned roles and began working in Albany, Bennett noted that the relationship she had with Cuomo began to change by mid-May.

On May 15, she got to the Capitol at 7am and soon engaged in a chat with Cuomo about her love life.

She told the Times the governor began gossiping with her about who she had been romantically involved with in the governor’s staff.

Bennett shared the conversation with other staff members.

During the chat, Bennett told Cuomo of a speech she was scheduled to give to Hamilton students about her experience as a survivor as sexual assault.

She said that the governor soon became enamored with her story. 

‘The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,’ she said in a text to a friend. ‘It was like he was testing me.’

Bennett describes the May 15 encounter ‘as the turning point in our relationship.’  

‘Anything before it I now see differently,’ she said. ‘I now understand that as grooming.’

The former aide said three weeks later, Cuomo began asking her questions about her love life after they had finished working in his office with another aide who had already left.

Bennett said the governor even asked her whether she was monogamous or enjoyed having sex with older men.

During a text with a friend on June 5, Bennett expressed being shaken and upset by the encounter and said she was even worried about writing down what happened.

‘Something just happened and I can’t even type it out or put it in a video,’ Ms. Bennett stated.

Bennett did tell her friend that there had been nothing physical between her and Cuomo.

As the two talked the next day, Bennett disclosed the governor asked if she was having sex with other people ‘while in my recent relationships.’

Cuomo allegedly told the former aide that he was lonely, especially following the end of his relationship with Sandra Lee, Bennett shared.

She said Cuomo described Lee as being ‘out of the picture,’ explaining that he was ‘wanting a girlfriend, preferably in the Albany area.’

Bennett said Cuomo asked her about her feelings about age gaps in relationships, allegedly telling her ‘age doesn’t matter,’ a text she wrote to her friend said.

She said: ‘He asked me if I believed if age made a difference in relationships and he also asked me in the same conversation if I had ever been with an older man.’

After she turned 25, Cuomo is said to have made a comment about how ‘he’s fine with anyone above the age of 22.’

Bennett is the second former aide of the governor’s to come forward with allegations after Ms Boylan.

'For those wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo admin, read @LindseyBoylan’s story,' Bennett said in a Wednesday post

'For those wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo admin, read @LindseyBoylan’s story,' Bennett said in a Wednesday post

‘For those wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo admin, read @LindseyBoylan’s story,’ Bennett said in a Wednesday post

In an essay published to Medium Wednesday, Ms Boylan claimed the Governor asked her to play strip poker on a flight in October 2017 and kissed on the lips without her permission.

Cuomo has denied the allegations from his former special advisor.

Bennett took to Twitter to share Boylan’s story before sharing her own testimony, shading Cuomo in her post.

‘For those wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo admin, read @LindseyBoylan’s story,’ she said in the post.

In Wednesday’s Medium post Boylan claimed she was taking a plane ride with Cuomo in 2017 when he asked her to play strip poker.

‘I should have been shocked by the Governor’s crude comment, but I wasn’t,’ she wrote.

She further alleged that during a one-on-one briefing with the Governor to update him on economic and infrastructure projects he kissed her without permission.

‘We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.

‘I had complained to friends that the Governor would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,’ she wrote.

Boylan had already alleged in tweets in December last year that Cuomo ‘abused his power’ and sexually harassed her for years.

In an essay published to Medium Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan - who worked as a special advisor to Cuomo in 2018 - charged that the Governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed on the lips without her permission. Cuomo has denied the allegations

In an essay published to Medium Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan - who worked as a special advisor to Cuomo in 2018 - charged that the Governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed on the lips without her permission. Cuomo has denied the allegations

In an essay published to Medium Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan – who worked as a special advisor to Cuomo in 2018 – charged that the Governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed on the lips without her permission. Cuomo has denied the allegations

Cuomo said in a statement: ‘When she came to me and opened up about being a sexual assault survivor and how it shaped her and her ongoing efforts to create an organization that empowered her voice to help other survivors, I tried to be supportive and helpful.

‘Ms. Bennett’s initial impression was right: I was trying to be a mentor to her. I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.

‘The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.

‘This situation cannot and should not be resolved in the press; I believe the best way to get to the truth is through a full and thorough outside review and I am directing all state employees to comply with that effort.

‘I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements. I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.’ 

Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard issued a statement Wednesday saying Boylan’s latest allegations are untrue.

‘As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,’ she stated. 

The pair of harassment allegations represent a deepening crisis for Cuomo, who just months ago was at the height of his popularity for his leadership during coronavirus pandemic.

In recent weeks, he has been assailed over revelations that his administration had underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. 

A state assemblyman went public with complaints that Cuomo had threatened to destroy him politically over statements he made in the press, prompting other politicians to share stories about having been bullied by the governor.

Saturday Night Live ripped into the governor’s recent scandals in its latest cold open, which took aim at the chaotic rollout of the COVID vaccine with Kate McKinnon playing the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The show spoofed a game show titled So You Think You Can Get a Vaccine in which three state governors were judges who had to decide whether contestants who wanted the coronavirus vaccine were eligible or not.

‘Getting the vaccine shouldn’t be a competition but Americans will only want to get it if someone else can’t,’ McKinnon’s Fauci said as she introduced the game show.

‘The vaccine roll out is going strong, but it’s also very confusing. Who can get it? How? When? Where is it? Do both doses go in the same arm or different arms or what? I don’t know.’ 

California Governor Gavin Newsom was played by Alex Moffat, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer by Cecily Strong and Cuomo by Pete Davidson. 

McKinnon’s Fauci introduced Davidson’s Cuomo with a bluntness that generated huge laughs.

‘Next, he’s currently under fire for futzing with old dead people and also for the kind of sexual harassment allegations that make you go, ‘Yeah, I can see that.’ It is New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.’ 

‘Yes, hello. Nice bodies, some of you,’ Davidson’s Cuomo responded. ‘I know, I’m in the frigging doghouse again. Remember when your favorite movie was my powerpoints? Remember, today is Tuesday? When can we go back to that? I mean, come on,’ he started as his character hankered after simpler times when the governor was at one point admired for his leadership during the pandemic.  

SNL's cold open mocked Dr. Anthony Fauci and the COVID vaccine rollout plan

SNL's cold open mocked Dr. Anthony Fauci and the COVID vaccine rollout plan

SNL’s cold open mocked Dr. Anthony Fauci and the COVID vaccine rollout plan

California Governor Gavin Newsom was played by Alex Moffat (left), Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer by Cecily Strong (right) and Cuomo by Pete Davidson (center)

California Governor Gavin Newsom was played by Alex Moffat (left), Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer by Cecily Strong (right) and Cuomo by Pete Davidson (center)

California Governor Gavin Newsom was played by Alex Moffat (left), Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer by Cecily Strong (right) and Cuomo by Pete Davidson (center) 

Kennedys, TV chefs, Chelsea Handler and his swooning ‘Cuomosexuals’: NY love-gov Cuomo’s VERY tangled love life 

From the daughter of RFK, a celebrity chef and his swooning army of self-described ‘Cuomosexuals’, the love life of New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has long been tangled and, at times, down-right cringe-worthy.

Earlier this week, Cuomo, 63, was accused of sexual harassment by a former aide for the second time in three months.

Charlotte Bennett, 25, told the New York Times the governor asked her questions about her sex life, whether she had monogamous relationships and if she ever had sex with older men – all during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Cuomo denies the accusations, they’re claimed to have occurred during a time that Cuomo briefly became the heartthrob of thousands of adoring liberals – dubbed ‘Cuomosexuals’ – who religiously tuned into his daily coronavirus briefings. 

Among his army of admirers was LA-based comedian Chelsea Handler, who joked last October that Cuomo ghosted her after she asked him out online.

The apparent proposition came after Cuomo’s break-up with girlfriend and celebrity chef Sandra Lee, whom he dated for 14-years until the fall of 2019.

Since breaking with Lee, Cuomo has made no secret of being on the prowl. However, he claims he rejected Handler’s advances because of distance.

‘I’m a big fan of Chelsea’s and she is great and we have fun but on my dating life, you know, I am only dating at this point in-state residents,’ he said during an appearance on The View in October, making a seeming reference to the ongoing pandemic.

The love life of New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has long been tangled and, at times, down-right cringe-worthy

The love life of New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has long been tangled and, at times, down-right cringe-worthy

The love life of New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has long been tangled and, at times, down-right cringe-worthy

Among Cuomo's army of admirers was LA-based comedian Chelsea Handler, who joked last October that he ghosted her after she asked him out online

Among Cuomo's army of admirers was LA-based comedian Chelsea Handler, who joked last October that he ghosted her after she asked him out online

Among Cuomo’s army of admirers was LA-based comedian Chelsea Handler, who joked last October that he ghosted her after she asked him out online

Cuomo also joked to Daily Show host Trevor Noah the same month that, ‘On a human level, on a social level – nobody wants to have dinner with me.’

Prior to his relationship with Lee, Cuomo was married to a member of America’s most famous political dynasty: Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy.

Cuomo and Kennedy tied the knot in 1990, but the Kennedy family are said to have had reservations about Cuomo, 

‘Andrew refused to do anything fun, anything without a clear benefit to his career,’ a family acquaintance of the Kennedys noted in a report by Vanity Fair.

Nevertheless, the wedding went ahead and the couple had three daughters together: twins Mariah and Cara in 1995, followed by Michaela who was born in 1997.

Cuomo was married to a member of America's most famous political dynasty: Kerry Kennedy (left), the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy

Cuomo was married to a member of America's most famous political dynasty: Kerry Kennedy (left), the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy

Cuomo was married to a member of America’s most famous political dynasty: Kerry Kennedy (left), the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy

But just two months after Michaela’s birth, discussions of divorce between the pair had reportedly turned from not ‘if’ but ‘when’.

Kennedy suggested the couple seek marriage counselling, but Cuomo was said to be too consumed with work.

According to the New York Daily News, Kerry Kennedy decided she could be with Cuomo no longer following his failed Governor bid in 2002.

Kennedy is said to have believed Cuomo didn’t spend enough time with the family and was horrified when she heard the Rolling Stones song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ play during a campaign event – an insensitive score selection, considering its line: ‘I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’ / When after all, it was you and me.’

Cuomo also allegedly had an affair with a close friend, according to reports from the time.

Kennedy is said to have believed Cuomo didn’t spend enough time with the family and was horrified when she heard the Rolling Stones song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ play during a campaign event

Kennedy is said to have believed Cuomo didn’t spend enough time with the family and was horrified when she heard the Rolling Stones song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ play during a campaign event

Kennedy is said to have believed Cuomo didn’t spend enough time with the family and was horrified when she heard the Rolling Stones song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ play during a campaign event

The divorce was finalized in 2005, and within months Cuomo began dating Food Network host Sandra Lee.

The pair first met at a cocktail party in the Hamptons after being introduced by a mutual friend.

Over the course of the 14-year courtship, they moved in together and regularly spoke lovingly of one another in the press.

Lee has been quoted as saying that she and Cuomo never fought and that he was especially laidback and mellow – a stark contrast to the way he was described during his bitter divorce.

However, in September 2019, the couple issued a joint statement to announce they were breaking up.

The end of their relationship came as somewhat expected, as for more than a year before, the media had speculated about the demise of their longstanding romance, with Lee skipping two major gubernational events in the months leading up to the announcement.

One of the skipped events was Cuomo’s State of the State address – the first time Lee was not by his side for an address since he was elected governor of New York.

‘Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship,’ the pair wrote in their statement.

‘We will always be family and are fully supportive of each other and dedicated to the girls. Our personal lives remain personal and there will be no further comment.’

Within months of his divorce from Kennedy, Cuomo began dating Food Network host Sandra Lee (above)

Lee has been quoted as saying that she and Cuomo never fought and that he was especially laidback and mellow - a stark contrast to the way he was described during his bitter divorce (Cuomo and Lee are pictured with his three daughters)

Lee has been quoted as saying that she and Cuomo never fought and that he was especially laidback and mellow - a stark contrast to the way he was described during his bitter divorce (Cuomo and Lee are pictured with his three daughters)

Lee has been quoted as saying that she and Cuomo never fought and that he was especially laidback and mellow – a stark contrast to the way he was described during his bitter divorce (Cuomo and Lee are pictured with his three daughters)

Since splitting with Lee, Cuomo has repeatedly intimated publicly since then that he was looking for love.

‘Do you think you are an attractive person now because you’re single and ready to mingle?’ the governor’s brother, Chris, teased him on his CNN show, Cuomo Prime Time.

When asked by radio host Alan Chartock last summer whether he was dating anyone, Cuomo quipped: ‘No. What happened to the women you are recommending?’

Cuomo continued through laughter: ‘Am in a serious relationship with anyone now? I am not.’

When asked if he was in an ‘unserious’ relationship, he responded: ‘Depends on how you define unserious.’

– Reporting by Luke Kenton for DailyMail.com –  

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Leading Democrats Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi all stay silent on Cuomo allegations – after vilifying conservative Brett Kavanaugh and rallying to ‘believe women’ throughout MeToo era

A number of high profile female Democrats have so far refused to comment on allegations against Andrew Cuomo – despite vilifying conservatives accused of sexual harassment throughout the MeToo era.  

Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren have all not yet released statements regarding the claims. 

They instead remained silent on the issue as of Sunday morning. That’s after a second former aide came forward Saturday with further allegations against the embattled New York governor. 

Charlotte Bennett, 25, a health policy adviser in the Democratic governor’s administration until November, told The New York Times Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she ever had sex with older men.

Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, 36, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, had already accused Cuomo, 63, of subjecting her to an unwanted kiss and inappropriate comments.

DailyMail.com has reached out to the White House and representatives of Clinton, Pelosi and Warren for comment. 

Vice President Kamala Harris ,pictured,  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren have all not yet released statements regarding the claims

Vice President Kamala Harris ,pictured,  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren have all not yet released statements regarding the claims

They instead remained silent on the issue as of Sunday morning. That's after a second former aide came forward Saturday with further allegations against the embattled New York governor. Clinton is pictured

They instead remained silent on the issue as of Sunday morning. That's after a second former aide came forward Saturday with further allegations against the embattled New York governor. Clinton is pictured

Vice President Kamala Harris, left, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, right, and Senator Elizabeth Warren have all not yet released statements regarding the claims

Cuomo responded to Bennett’s claims with a statement Saturday saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate. He had previously denied Boylan’s allegations.  

He did, however, say he had authorized an outside review of Bennett’s allegations.

The governor’s special counsel, Beth Garvey, said that review would be conducted by a former federal judge, Barbara Jones.

‘I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements,’ Cuomo said. ‘I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.’ 

Vice President Harris has previously said she believed women who accused Joe Biden of inappropriate touching during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign. 

She said in April 2019: ‘I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it.’

Harris also called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment in September 2019 after Christine Blasey Ford had accused of the then Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault when they were high schoolers. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.

She tweeted: ‘Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday ‘any allegation should be reviewed.’  

Pelosi said in 2018: 'I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.' She said in Apirl last year she is a 'big, strong supporter of the #MeToo movement'

Pelosi said in 2018: 'I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.' She said in Apirl last year she is a 'big, strong supporter of the #MeToo movement'

Pelosi said in 2018: ‘I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.’ She said in Apirl last year she is a ‘big, strong supporter of the #MeToo movement’

Warren tweeted: 'Christine Blasey Ford is brave, deserves to be heard, and treated with respect as she raises new questions about Brett Kavanaugh'

Warren tweeted: 'Christine Blasey Ford is brave, deserves to be heard, and treated with respect as she raises new questions about Brett Kavanaugh'

Warren tweeted: ‘Christine Blasey Ford is brave, deserves to be heard, and treated with respect as she raises new questions about Brett Kavanaugh’

House speaker Pelosi said in 2018: ‘I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.’ She said in April last year she is a ‘big, strong supporter of the #MeToo movement’.

And in 2017 Pelosi said of the MeToo movement: ‘Harvey [Weinstein] didn’t evoke this. The election of President Trump evoked what happened to Harvey and now everybody is served notice.’ 

After his confirmation to the Supreme Court she issued a statement which read: ‘Today is a profoundly heart-breaking day for women, girls and families across America.

‘Courageous women risked their safety and well-being to speak truth about this nomination. Tens of thousands more joined them to share their own harrowing stories of sexual assault, at great personal risk. 

‘Yet, Senate Republicans chose to send a clear message to all women: do not speak out, and if you do – do not expect to be heard, believed or respected.’ 

Warren tweeted: ‘Christine Blasey Ford is brave, deserves to be heard, and treated with respect as she raises new questions about Brett Kavanaugh.’

Clinton said of Ford: ‘I found her very credible. You have to ask yourself, why would anybody put themselves through this if they did not believe that they had important information to convey to the Senate?

‘I felt a great swell of pride that she would be willing to put herself out there under these circumstances.’  

Cuomo responded to Bennett's claims with a statement Saturday saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate. He had previously denied Boylan's allegations. Boylan is pictured with Harris

Cuomo responded to Bennett's claims with a statement Saturday saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate. He had previously denied Boylan's allegations. Boylan is pictured with Harris

Cuomo responded to Bennett’s claims with a statement Saturday saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate. He had previously denied Boylan’s allegations. Boylan is pictured with Harris 

Mainstream TV networks ABC, NBC and CBS also did not report on Boylan’s allegations in their news bulletins Wednesday night. 

And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gave a somewhat soft reply. 

‘I have not read her allegations or her posts or Medium posts. But as I said, everyone has a right to be able to come forward, speak their truth and be heard. And that’s true for her and it’s also true for Governor Cuomo,’ Gillibrand said Thursday.  

In the past, Gillibrand has seemed far more reluctant to let Republicans accused of sexual assault ‘speak their truth’. 

The Democrat senator demanded President Trump ‘resign’ after he was accused of sexual assault. 

In 2018, she called allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ‘disqualifying’.    

Rep. Carolyn Maloney said: ‘All survivors of harassment and assault deserve to be heard and…have their case thoroughly investigated.’

Following Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh she tweeted: ‘#BelieveWomen’   

AOC on Friday called on the state legislature to investigate the 'extraordinarily serious' allegations, adding that survivors 'deserve to be heard.'

AOC on Friday called on the state legislature to investigate the 'extraordinarily serious' allegations, adding that survivors 'deserve to be heard.'

AOC on Friday called on the state legislature to investigate the ‘extraordinarily serious’ allegations, adding that survivors ‘deserve to be heard.’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday called on the state legislature to investigate the ‘extraordinarily serious’ allegations, adding that survivors ‘deserve to be heard.’

She said the ‘process for hearing this allegation falls squarely in the state legislature.’  

She tweeted Sunday: ‘Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett’s detailed accounts of sexual harassment by Gov. Cuomo are extremely serious and painful to read. 

‘There must be an independent investigation – not one led by an individual selected by the Governor, but by the office of the Attorney General.’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters during a press conference Thursday that Boylan’s allegations should be examined more thoroughly. 

He spoke before the similar allegations made by Bennett.  

‘These allegations are really disturbing. Let’s be clear about that, they’re really disturbing. We have to, as New Yorkers, we got to take this seriously. When a woman comes forward with this kind of very specific allegations, they have to be taken seriously,’ de Blasio stated. 

‘We need a full and independent investigation, I want to emphasize the word ‘independent,’ investigation by some individual or entity that is not compromised, is not dominated by the governor’s office, but an independent investigation,’ he continued. 

‘This kind of behavior, if it’s true, is unacceptable in any public servant, in anybody. So we’ve got to get the truth about this.’  

A spokesperson for Chuck Schumer said: ‘He has said many times that sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated, and that any credible allegation should be thoroughly investigated.’ 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smile after signing the Red Flag bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, in New York, U.S., February 25, 2019

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smile after signing the Red Flag bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, in New York, U.S., February 25, 2019

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smile after signing the Red Flag bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, in New York, U.S., February 25, 2019

Hillary Clinton & Governor Andrew Cuomo on stage at rally on reproductive health act at Barnard College in 2007

Hillary Clinton & Governor Andrew Cuomo on stage at rally on reproductive health act at Barnard College in 2007

Hillary Clinton & Governor Andrew Cuomo on stage at rally on reproductive health act at Barnard College in 2007 

Actress and activist Rose McGown has also spoken out in defense of Boylan and, like de Blasio, she is demanding an independent investigation. 

‘I completely stand by Lindsey Boylan. Its truth leaks from every word on the screen that she wrote. She, none of us, should endure what she endured,’ McGowan told Fox News. 

‘If they’re doing it to her, what are they doing to constituents? What is he going to do to what he considers the little people? It’s monstrous.’ 

She continued: ‘I would like to see an honest investigation. I would like that position of power to be filled by somebody who is not dangerous and a bully and intimidating and threatening because that’s what sexual harassment is. It’s power abuse. It’s trying to make the little person feel small.’  

Biden wants Cuomo probe: Jen Psaki says president supports review into sexual assault claims against NY governor and admits she found new allegations ‘hard to read as a woman’

Joe Biden wants an investigation into sexual assault and harassment allegations levied against Andrew Cuomo, the president’s spokesperson revealed Sunday.

‘There should be an independent review looking into these allegations,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN‘s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday. ‘And that’s certainly something the president supports.’

Psaki said the allegations ‘are serious.’

‘It was hard to read that story as a woman,’ Psaki said of the New York Times piece revealing the new allegations against Cuomo.

‘That process should move forward as quickly as possible,’ she said of a probe into the governor’s conduct toward female aides.

Previously, the White House has stood by Cuomo, claiming Biden would continue working with him to address the coronavirus pandemic and in the New York Democrat’s capacity as the chairman of the National Governors Association. 

Cuomo has found himself in hot water as the two women come forward with their stories and as he faces another controversy involving lying about the number of nursing home deaths in New York from COVID-19.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (right) told CNN on Sunday that President Joe Biden wants an investigation into sexual assault and harassment claims against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (right) told CNN on Sunday that President Joe Biden wants an investigation into sexual assault and harassment claims against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (right) told CNN on Sunday that President Joe Biden wants an investigation into sexual assault and harassment claims against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

'It was hard to read that story as a woman,' Psaki said of the New York Times piece revealing the new allegations against Cuomo, adding the claims 'are serious'

'It was hard to read that story as a woman,' Psaki said of the New York Times piece revealing the new allegations against Cuomo, adding the claims 'are serious'

‘It was hard to read that story as a woman,’ Psaki said of the New York Times piece revealing the new allegations against Cuomo, adding the claims ‘are serious’

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