Pelosi Admits Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Andrew Cuomo Are ‘Credible’
House speaker responds to multiple claims against New York governor
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted the allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are “credible” following details of a second former Cuomo administration staffer's accusations.
In a statement, the California House Democrat said:
“The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity."
“The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
Over the weekend, Cuomo's second accuser, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett, who worked as an executive assistant and health policy adviser before leaving in November, came forward with new allegations against the Governor.
Earlier in the week, Cuomo's former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser, Lindsey Boylan, came forward to accuse the governor of inappropriate behavior and gave a detailed account of alleged repeated sexual harassment.
In an essay published on the website Medium, Boylan alleged that Cuomo went "out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms, and legs."
She also accused the governor of forcibly kissing her on the lips during a one-on-one briefing and suggesting that they "play strip poker" during a plane ride.
The governor's office has denied Boylan's harassment claims, insisting the strip poker comment "did not happen" and calling the allegations "simply false."
On Sunday, Cuomo released a statement denying propositioning anyone or engaging in inappropriate touching.
Cuomo called for an outside, “independent review” of the allegations against him.
Cuomo's statement read:
Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office.
I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work, and colleagues are often also personal friends.
At work, sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way. I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.
I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.
To be clear, I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody, and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to.
That’s why I have asked for an outside, independent review that looks at these allegations.
Separately, my office has heard anecdotally that some people have reached out to Ms. Bennett to express displeasure about her coming forward. My message to anyone doing that is you have misjudged what matters to me and my administration, and you should stop now – period.
Bennett reacted to recent claims made by Cuomo's ex-aide Lindsey Boylan by tweeting:
“For those wondering what it’s like to work for the Cuomo admin, read @LindseyBoylan’s story.”
Earlier this month, CNN said Chris Cuomo was barred from covering his brother and admitted network brass lifted the "rule" last year for the host to conduct his chummy fraternal interviews.