Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. and three of his colleagues in New York state have each launched criminal inquiries into the sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The inquiries come about 24 hours after state Attorney General Letitia James released a bombshell report stemming from her office’s independent investigation into the allegations. Eleven women, including a New York state trooper, came forward to testify that the governor inappropriately touched, groped or spoke to them — and James’ report indicated that Cuomo may have violated state and federal law in the process.
On Aug. 4, Danny Frost, senior adviser and director of communications for Vance’s office, tweeted that the DA had requested materials from James’ office for further investigation into incidents that occurred within Manhattan. Cuomo has a frequently used office in Midtown.
“When our office learned yesterday that the @NewYorkStateAG investigation of the Governor’s conduct was complete, our office contacted the A.G.’s office to begin requesting investigative materials in their possession pertaining to incidents that occurred in Manhattan,” Frost tweeted.
When our office learned yesterday that the @NewYorkStateAG investigation of the Governor’s conduct was complete, our office contacted the A.G.’s Office to begin requesting investigative materials in their possession pertaining to incidents that occurred in Manhattan.
— Danny Frost (@realdannyfrost) August 4, 2021
Vance is no stranger to investigating high-profile cases; his office has prosecuted financial crimes allegedly committed by the Trump Organization and sexual abuse claims against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, a statement from the office of Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah made a similar request for investigative materials related to incidents that may have occurred there. According to NBC News, that may include interactions between Cuomo and a female New York state trooper.
According to James’ report, Cuomo had met the trooper at a Robert F. Kennedy Bridge function in November 2017; she was later assigned to the New York State Police Protective Services Unit, which is in charge of the governor’s security, despite having just two years of experience on the force (a minimum of three years is required).
Shortly after she joined the PSU, the report alleged, Cuomo repeatedly sexually harassed the trooper — including running his hand across her stomach as she held a door open for him; running his finger down her back while in an elevator; kissing her on the cheek, and asking for a kiss on another occasion; and making numerous “sexually suggestive and gender-based comments.”
Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who oversees criminal investigations in the state capitol city and some of its suburbs, has also made a material request while also indicating that his office may be looking at possible “violations of civil harassment statutes” that the governor may have made.
“We welcome any victim to contact our office with additional information,” according to Soares’ office.
The fourth prosecutor to open a probe of Cuomo’s allegations is acting Nassau County DA Joyce A. Smith.
“We are reviewing the deeply disturbing findings of the Attorney General’s report regarding the Governor’s alleged conduct,” Smith said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “We have requested the Attorney General’s records related to any incidents that occurred in Nassau County and will thoroughly and expeditiously investigate any potential crimes.”
James’ report found that Cuomo’s alleged misconduct violated state and federal laws related to sexual harassment. The attorney general declined to prosecute, at this time, sending the report to the state Assembly, which has the authority to impeach the governor for wrongdoing.
She also closed the investigation Tuesday, which enabled district attorneys across the state to request related materials to launch their own criminal inquiries.
Cuomo denied the accusations made in the 168-page report, claiming that his interactions were misrepresented. He also accused the probe of being politically-biased — which James later replied was an “offensive” remark.
The independent investigation was led by two prominent attorneys, Joon Kim and Anne Clark, over five months. Along with speaking to the 11 victims, the investigators also obtained corroborating information from more than 200 witnesses. Cuomo himself was deposed for 11 hours as part of the probe.
Asked during a Wednesday appearance on “CBS This Morning” whether he believed the governor should be charged criminally, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Cuomo should be.
“Yeah. If you assault a woman, if you do something against her will sexually, that’s criminal. And the Albany County District Attorney is looking at that and I think he should be charged,” de Blasio said.