NEW YORK — There are concerns New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is interfering with the New York Attorney General’s investigation into accusations of misconduct made against him.
His accusers are also concerned he will have influence over the separate state assembly impeachment investigation.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s investigation is continuing. By the end of the week investigators will have interviewed at least two accusers: Ana Liss and Charlotte Bennett. However, several state lawmakers are expressing concern about the governor exerting influence on the inquiry.
They said the governor’s office appears to be conducting its own review of the sexual harassment claims, even offering lawyers to staffers being questioned by the Attorney General’s team.
State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi of the Bronx and Westchester said this could be seen as an intimidation tactic.
“The lawyers the governor is providing do not represent them (staff questioned by the AG’s office),” Biaggi said. “It’s highly inappropriate. New Yorkers should be outraged and it’s another example of the Governor using his position of power to circumvent accountability.”
Separate concerns are being raised about the State Assembly’s impeachment inquiry. The law firm of Davis Polk hired to do the investigation. A retired partner at the firm is married to a political ally of the governor: New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.
One of Cuomo’s accusers. Lindsey Boylan, also questioned the specific attorneys within Davis Polk assigned to the case and called the whole Assembly inquiry a “scam investigation.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx is disputing these claims of bias. He said Davis Polk is a large multinational firm. Heastie also said the three attorneys working with the Assembly were vetted carefully and two are former Federal Prosecutors.
Also Thursday Valerie Bauman, a reporter who once covered Cuomo when he was New York’s Attorney General more than a decade ago raised new concerns.
Bauman tweeted that Cuomo never touched her inappropriately but made her feel uncomfortable with excessive eye contact, a job offer and flirting over the phone. She said her goal was “to shine a light on the broader culture of sexual harassment and devaluation of women… in Albany.”