• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Calls for Governor Cuomo to resign grow as second woman comes forward alleging sexual harassment

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

New York Governor Cuomo is facing calls to resign after a former aide becomes the second woman accusing him of sexual harassment. Cuomo said he is handing the investigation over to the state attorney general. Jericka Duncan reports.

Video Transcript

- All right, moving on to politics here. New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, faces calls to resign after a second former aide accused him of sexual harassment. The woman claims Cuomo repeatedly asked her questions about her sex life while she worked for him last year. Cuomo, for his part, says he never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. Our national correspondent Jericka Duncan is following this story for us. Jericka, good morning to you.

JERICKA DUNCAN: Good morning. The governor says he is handing over this investigation to the state attorney general after she denied his original request to choose a private investigator. Now, the AG is expected to have full investigative authority and even oversee a law firm that will have the power to subpoena.

Charlotte Bennett laid out allegations of harassment against Governor Andrew Cuomo in The New York Times, events that she says took place over several months. In one encounter last June, Bennett said Cuomo asked if she was "romantically involved, whether she was monogamous in her relationships, and if she had ever had sex with older men." The 25-year-old former executive assistant added, "I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared."

Yesterday the governor apologized, writing, "I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal. 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."

Alessandra Biaggi is chair of the state senate ethics committee and worked in the governor's office in 2017.

ALESSANDRA BIAGGI: He's actually saying that he meant for those words to be playful. And there is no realm of playful when a governor of a state asks a young staffer who is 25 years old if she has sex with older men or if she has sex outside of her relationship. That is not only inappropriate, it is abusive.

JERICKA DUNCAN: The allegations have led to swift calls for an investigation from many prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden.

JEN PSAKI: President Biden has been consistent that he believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect and with dignity.

JERICKA DUNCAN: New York attorney general Letitia James will lead that investigation into Bennett's claims and those of another former aide, Lindsay Boylan. In a post last week, Boylan alleged Cuomo once kissed her on the mouth without permission. Cuomo has denied all of Boylan's claims.

ALESSANDRA BIAGGI: That behavior from the governor is the exact behavior that prevents us from having good governance! It impacts policy. The lack of just being able to acknowledge that either mistakes are made or that certain behavior is harmful to others is highly problematic, of someone who holds the office that is the highest office of the State of New York.

JERICKA DUNCAN: State Senator Biaggi says that in the past, governors have had a lot of power when it comes to investigations within the state. She says she's hopeful that the attorney general's involvement in this case will lead to more transparency. Anthony?

- Jericka, thank you.