Andrew Cuomo: In the meantime, the governor was seen as a beacon of hope for the Democratic Party
Photo: Richard Drew / AP
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo repeatedly verbally and physically molested women during his tenure.
This is the result of an investigation by the Democratic attorney general of the US state New York, Letitia James, which has now been presented at a press conference.
The report cites as examples of Cuomo's misconduct touching, for example in the genital area, as well as kisses, hugs and inappropriate comments.
The governor has created a "hostile working atmosphere" for women and a "climate of fear and intimidation," the report says.
One woman said the report said Cuomo touched her chest.
Another said he kissed her after a work meeting in his office.
In at least one case, Cuomo and his confidants allegedly tried to retaliate against a woman who made allegations.
Conversations with 179 witnesses
A team of lawyers hired by James spoke for the report with a total of 179 witnesses and sifted through around 7,400 pieces of evidence.
"These interviews and circumstantial evidence revealed a deeply disturbing but clear picture: Governor Cuomo has sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws," James said at the press conference.
A total of eleven women are therefore affected.
Their descriptions are supported by testimony from other witnesses and short messages that were sent out during the period in question.
Several women endured Cuomo's behavior, said attorney Joon Kim, who co-authored the report with colleague Anne Clark.
None of the women wanted it.
"And everyone found it disturbing, humiliating, uncomfortable and inappropriate."
The governor initially did not comment on the report.
Cuomo has always denied touching anyone inappropriately.
He only apologized that his behavior towards women had been misunderstood as unwanted flirting.
Cuomo accuses his critics of political motives
Recently, Cuomo had repeatedly attacked his critics and accused them of political motives.
Kim had worked as a prosecutor on corruption charges against members of Cuomo's government.
After the allegations against the governor arose, there were calls for resignation, including from his own party, the US Democrats.
The independently prepared report initially has no legal consequences for Cuomo.
The public prosecutor was initially not involved.
However, investigators could use the results of the investigation to possibly indict Cuomo.
The report should also play a role in determining whether Cuomo should be removed from office.
The New York state parliament is currently examining other allegations against Cuomo - among other things, he is said to have withheld data on corona deaths in nursing homes for several months and given relatives preferential access to corona tests.
In the meantime, the governor was seen as a beacon of hope for the Democratic Party.
In the corona pandemic, he presented himself as an alternative to the then Republican President Donald Trump.
ulz / dpa / AP / Reuters