ALBANY, NY – The U.S. Department of Justice began a civil investigation in August into sexual harassment claims made against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York officials revealed Wednesday. Year.
The exact nature of the investigation and its current status are unclear.
The office of Governor Kathy Hochul, who took office when Cuomo stepped down in August, said it hired a law firm in October to handle “issues related to ongoing investigations into the inheritance.” from previous administrations” and one of those issues was an investigation by the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
Hochul press secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays said: “As this is an ongoing investigation, we will not comment further at this time.
The law firm’s hiring was initially disclosed in a contract made public Thursday due to public records requests by several news organizations.
The contract said the company, Willkie Farr and Gallagher, were representing the governor’s office in a number of investigations involving previous administrations, including a Justice Department investigation “involving allegations sexual harassment charges were brought against the governor at the time.”
Cuomo announced he was stepping down on August 10, a week after an investigative report commissioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded he sexually harassed 11 women. His last day in office was August 23.
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the former governor was made aware of the investigation.
“We understand that the civil department opened an investigation in August based on a politically motivated fake report by AG and we have heard nothing since,” he said.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
The department’s civil rights division has certain enforcement powers under federal anti-discrimination laws. It launched an initiative in 2018 to combat sexual harassment of government employees and handle complaints made under the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Cuomo has admitted making comments to some women upset them, including jokes construed as unwanted flirting, but he has denied sexually harassing anyone. or touching anyone inappropriately.
The Albany County Sheriff filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo this fall alleging that he groped a female aide at the governor’s mansion in late 2020. Suing him over the allegation has since been filed. adjourned until at least January while the district attorney investigates the allegations.