Frustratingly, there are few details in this Albany Times-Union scoop. We know there’s a new accuser, we know she’s claiming that Cuomo did more than just ask her flirtatious questions about her love life, and we know that the attorney general is aware of the allegation.
Was the “inappropriate contact” an unwanted kiss, as Lindsey Boylan and Anna Ruch have alleged? Was it a “too intimate” embrace, as Karen Hinton supposedly endured? Was it something more aggressive? No word.
But we now have two distinct scandals running full bore on parallel tracks. Ed wrote earlier about the new revelations that Cuomo’s disastrous nursing-home policy at the start of the pandemic wasn’t limited to nursing homes. The Times-Union meanwhile has added another allegation to the list of Cuomo’s personal misdeeds. The worse this headache gets, the more desperate New York Democrats will be to end it.
A sixth woman has come forward and leveled allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and a supervisor in the Executive Chamber recently became aware the woman had alleged that the governor inappropriately touched her late last year during an encounter at the governor’s mansion, where she had been summoned to do work…
The complaint was reported to the governor’s counsel by other employees in the Executive Chamber. The information also was relayed by the governor’s office to the attorney general’s office, which is coordinating an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment that have been made against the governor.
The sixth woman, whose identity is being withheld by the Times Union because she could not be reached for comment, is a member of the Executive Chamber staff.
Cuomo’s strategy for now is to simply play for time, hope that the AG probe isn’t too hard on him, and then follow the Ralph Northam path back to semi-respectability by trusting his party and his state’s voters to … just sort of forget everything. “The old resignation playbook is out,” a Cuomo advisor recently told The Atlantic, mentioning Northam and his ability to survive and thrive by simply riding out the storm. But it’s hard for a control freak like Cuomo, who’s used to bullying other officials into getting his way, to sit around powerless while his fate is in the hands of attorney general Letitia James. His staff reportedly has tried to use the AG investigation to Cuomo’s own benefit, in fact, citing it as a reason why he shouldn’t step down prematurely. Via The City:
Several female lawmakers are being asked to sign onto this statement circulating this morning. According to sources the idea originated from the Cuomo administration and insinuates that calls for Cuomo to resign would "undermine" the role of the Attorney General. https://t.co/CWsYmHj5er pic.twitter.com/kDBAOwia88
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) March 8, 2021
Some women lawmakers did sign the statement — but only after removing the part about how it would undermine the investigation to call on Cuomo to step down:
— Kimberly Jean Pierre (@Kimjeanpierre) March 8, 2021
James’s office has apparently reassured legislators that the investigation will continue even if Cuomo is pressured into resigning or if the assembly impeaches him. And why shouldn’t it? If there’s potential criminal or civil liability here, whether he holds office or not is immaterial to the AG’s conclusions.
Perhaps he’ll be asked about the statement and his new accuser at this afternoon’s hastily called press conference?
NEW: @NYGovCuomo calls a 4 PM conference call with reporters.
Expect questions on this:https://t.co/4O3k40NN6A
— Jesse McKinley (@jessemckinley) March 9, 2021
Stay tuned for more from that. For what it’s worth, NYC councilman Joe Borelli, a Republican, claimed yesterday that there are more than enough votes in the state legislature to remove Cuomo but that’s highly unlikely at the moment given that both chambers are controlled by Democrats. James’s investigation really is helping him keep them at bay, as is the bitterness in Democratic circles over progressive star Al Franken being pressured into resigning before he had a full accounting by the Senate Ethics Committee or some other relevant tribunal. If James accuses him of something criminal, that’s the end for Cuomo. If she accuses him of “inappropriate” but otherwise legal behavior, I doubt Dem lawmakers will cross him. There’s still a chance he gets reelected next year, after all, as hard as it may be to imagine. If you kick Andrew Cuomo when he’s down by trying to take him out and you fail, he’ll make you pay if and when he’s back on top again. And every Democrat in New York knows it.
In lieu of an exit question, go read this laughable dreck in the New York Daily News about Cuomo’s pandemic record, which I assume was written as a favor to him. I’d hate to imagine that it was written in earnest.