ALBANY, N,Y, (WSYR-TV) — On Tuesday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced that an investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo found that he sexually harassed multiple current and former state government employees.
Thea five-month investigation found that the Cuomo administration was a “hostile work environment” and that it was “rife with fear and intimidation.” The investigators spoke with 179 people and reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence.
After the findings were announced, officials across New York called for the governor to resign. U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Nydia Velazquezm, NY Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, New York State Senator Sean Ryan, NYC Mayoral Candidate Curtis Sliwa, and U.S. Congresswoman and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik were among those condemning the governor.
Governor Cuomo responded to the findings on Tuesday afternoon, and in a recorded statement, the governor dismissed the findings from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation.
The governor alleged was not impartial, saying: “The facts are much different than what has been portrayed. I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. That is just not who I am and that’s just not who I’ve ever been.”
In the pre-recorded response, Cuomo argued that touching was just something he does with everyone he meets, and showed a photo montage of himself touching people’s faces and kissing them on the cheek.
“I actually learned it from my mother and from my father,” he said. “It is meant to convey warmth, nothing more.”
Governor Cuomo also asked people to see a written response from his attorneys that argue his innocence in each of the cases.
The aftermath on Tuesday included a press conference in which Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt responded to the Attorney General’s report and brought up the question of what happens next, since there are no criminal proceedings planned at this time.
Going forward, New York State Attorney General Letitia James said her investigation has concluded. There were no referrals to criminal prosecutors, though that’s not to say local authorities couldn’t use the evidence and findings of the report to mount their own cases. If an impeachment is in order, there is a specific process by which it can happen.
“The report speaks for itself,” James said, “Right now I think we should all be focused on the courageous and the bravery of the women who came forward. And all of us should be focused on keeping women safe, believing women and allowing them to speak their truth, and that’s exactly what this document does.”