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Justice Department finds Cuomo sexually harassed employees, settles with New York state

The settlement came as former New York Governor, once a rising star in the Democratic party, is rumored to be considering a political comeback

Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York's Yankee Stadium on July 26, 2021.Richard Drew (AP)

The U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement with the state of New York on Friday to resolve a sexual harassment investigation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, confirming allegations from the damaging misconduct probe that led to the Democrat’s resignation.

The agreement details a series of reforms made after Cuomo left office and outlines additional steps the state will take to change how it handles sexual harassment claims.

Cuomo, once a rising star in the Democratic party, left office in 2021 after a report by Attorney General Letitia James concluded he sexually harassed at least 11 women. He has denied the allegations and argued James’ report was driven by politics, intended to force him from office so she could run for governor.

The Justice Department investigation, which began in 2021, similarly found a pattern of sexual misconduct by Cuomo and said he subjected at least 13 state employees to a sexually hostile work environment. It said Cuomo’s staffers failed to adequately report allegations and retaliated against four women who raised complaints.

“The conduct in the executive chamber under the former governor, the state’s most powerful elected official, was especially egregious because of the stark power differential involved and the victims’ lack of avenues to report and redress harassment,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke.

An attorney for Cuomo said in a statement that the former governor “did not sexually harass anyone.”

“The DOJ ‘investigation’ was based entirely on the NYS Attorney General’s deeply flawed, inaccurate, biased, and misleading report. At no point did DOJ even contact Governor Cuomo concerning these matters. This is nothing more than a political settlement with no investigation,” said Rita Glavin.

The settlement came as Cuomo is rumored to be considering a political comeback.

In a statement, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who had served as lieutenant governor until Cuomo resigned, said she looks forward to continuing to reform the state’s procedures for addressing and preventing sexual harassment and retaliation.

“The moment I took office, I knew I needed to root out the culture of harassment that had previously plagued the Executive Chamber and implement strong policies to promote a safe workplace for all employees, and took immediate action to do so,” Hochul said.

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