De Blasio wants independent investigation into Cuomo sex harassment claims

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a March 2020 press conference.
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Mayor Bill de Blasio called Thursday for an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Governor Andrew Cuomo, emphasizing that the only worthy investigation will be an independent one. 

Reacting to a lengthy essay published by former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan that detailed multiple alleged instances of sexual harassment from the governor, the mayor said the accusations deserve to be taken seriously. 

“These allegations are really disturbing, let’s be clear about that,” de Blasio said. “When a woman comes forward with these types of very specific allegations they have to be taken seriously.” 

Boylan’s essay includes claims that the governor jokingly suggested a game of strip poker, gave her an unwanted kiss, and created a work environment where sexual harassment and bullying were commonplace. The governor’s office has vehemently denied all of Boylan’s claims. 

Hizzoner stressed that any investigation into the claims must come from an entity that cannot be compromised by the governor himself. 

The state capital has long been derided by government watchdogs for having a weak ethics arm. The Joint Commission for Public Ethics (JCOPE), formed by Cuomo in 2011 to clean up Albany following scandal-scarred Governor Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, has been criticized for being beholden to the politicians that appoint its members, which include Cuomo himself.

“We need a full and independent investigation,” de Blasio said, “by some individual or entity that is not compromised, is not something that is dominated by the governor’s office.”

A group of five female state Senate Republicans have called on Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an investigation into the claims. James recently published a bombshell investigation into the governor’s purposeful undercounting of nursing home deaths, leading to increased heat on Cuomo in recent weeks.

Other Democratic lawmakers across New York State have similarly called for independent investigators outside of JCOPE to look into the allegations. 

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