Cuomo sexual harassment allegations: NY AG reviewing letter from Republican state senators asking for probe
Lindsey Boylan alleged 'abusive, sexist and harassing behavior,' and that Cuomo once said 'let's play strip poker'
New York Attorney General Letitia James is reviewing a letter from state senators asking her office to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Fox News has learned.
Republican state Sens. Patricia Richie, Susan Serino, Pamela Helming, Daphne Jordan and Alexis Weik penned a letter to James’ office requesting a "formal investigation" into the allegations of "abusive, sexist and harassing behavior" of Cuomo toward his former aide, Lindsey Boylan.
The senators, in the letter, requested the "immediate appointment of a Special Prosecutor to conduct this investigation," and called the allegations "potentially criminal in nature."
"At a minimum, the seriousness of these allegations clearly warrant a comprehensive, immediate investigation by an independent special prosecutor," they wrote.
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A source from James’ office told Fox News that they are in receipt of the letter and are reviewing it.
Boylan, the former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo, published an essay on Medium this week accusing the governor of unwanted kissing and touching while she worked in his office. She also claimed Cuomo had staffers arrange meetings with her, where he made inappropriate comments.
"Let's play strip poker," Boylan said Cuomo remarked on a flight from an event in October 2017.
Cuomo press secretary Caitlin Girouard called Boylan's claims "quite simply false." His office put out a statement from four others who were also on flights with Cuomo and Boyland in October 2017 who said the "conversation did not happen." Boylan could not be reached by Fox News.
Boylan first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment last year but did not elaborate at the time.
Boylan, describing an encounter in December 2016, said Cuomo arranged through a handler to meet her in his Albany office, to which she agreed reluctantly. She said he gave her a tour of his office, "smirked" and showed off a cigar box he said was given to him by former President Bill Clinton while he served as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Boylan said she interpreted that to be an innuendo referencing the affair between Clinton and his then-intern Monica Lewinsky in the mid-1990s.
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She said she was warned by other staffers when she joined Cuomo's administration in 2015 to "be careful around the Governor."
Boylan said his behavior "was all so normalized — particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him — that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was."
She also alleged that shortly before the office incident, that made her feel uncomfortable, Stephanie Benton, director of the governor’s offices, told her in an email that Cuomo suggested she look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because "we could be sisters" and told Boylan she was "the better-looking sister."
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"The Governor began calling me 'Lisa' in front of colleagues. It was degrading," Boylan wrote, including screenshots of the email exchange between her and Benton.
Boylan said in another incident, this time in Cuomo's New York City office, he kissed her on the lips.
"I was in shock, but I kept walking," Boylan wrote.
"The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the Governor's 'crush' on me was more demeaning than the kiss itself."
She wrote in her Wednesday essay that she expects "the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they've done with Assemblymember Kim" — who came forward in recent weeks with his own accusations against the governor of bullying and threatening him.
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Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the allegations against Cuomo, saying President Biden "has been consistent in his position."
"When a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Their voice should be heard and not silenced," Psaki said. "And any allegation should be reviewed."
The recently detailed allegations by Boylan come as Cuomo faces intense scrutiny and pressure to resign following explosive revelations that his administration concealed accurate nursing home death counts in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, stonewalling a federal investigation by the Justice Department into elder care facilities in four states, including New York.
Several ongoing investigations continue to probe the impact of Cuomo's directive last March for nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients, resulting in thousands of deaths in assisted living facilities.