NEW YORK — After New York Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation report concluded Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said there is grounds for prosecution.
The mayor said Wednesday he thought the governor should be prosecuted after seeing the attorney general’s report and getting more information.
“The most important thing right now is for the governor to resign and end the agony he’s putting the state of New York through and the pain that these 11 women are going through who were wronged in every sense in an unacceptable manner,” the mayor said.
Just hours after the report was released, the governor denied ever sexually harassing people and showed a photo montage of himself touching people’s faces and kissing them on the cheek.
He said there are “hundreds if not thousands” of photos of him using the gesture.
De Blasio also criticized the governor’s video, calling his argument “ridiculous.”
“Him trying to put out some video, slick video, to say it’s culturally OK to harass and assault women that’s ridiculous and it was an embarrassment and it’s not OK. It never was OK. It wasn’t OK 50 years ago, it wasn’t OK 100 years ago,” the mayor said. “ So stop with this attempt to say culturally somehow he’s allowed to do what he did. No, it’s not acceptable. He needs to resign. Let’s get this over with because the entire state has spoken out. The people have spoken, the leaders have spoken, it’s time to go.”
De Blasio also told PIX11’s Anthony DiLorenzo Wednesday morning he believes the governor is “not the kind of person to hear that he’s done something wrong.”
“I think impeachment is coming real soon,” de Blasio said.
The nearly five-month investigation found that Cuomo’s administration was a “hostile work environment” and was “rife with fear and intimidation.” The probe, conducted by two outside lawyers, involved interviews with 179 people including Cuomo’s accusers, current and former administration employees and the governor himself.
The Assembly hired its own legal team to investigate Cuomo’s conduct, plus other allegations of wrongdoing. The legislature is looking into the help Cuomo got from senior aides to write a book about the pandemic, special access that Cuomo relatives got to COVID-19 testing last year, and the administration’s decision to withhold some data on nursing home deaths from the public for several months.
New York state regulations say sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature — from unwanted flirtation to sexual jokes — that creates an offensive work environment, regardless of a perpetrator’s intent.
The governor, in contrast, has repeatedly argued that he did not intend to harass anyone. His office has said he took the state’s mandated sexual harassment training, but has not provided any documentation proving he did.
Cuomo championed a landmark 2019 state law that made it easier for sexual harassment victims to prove their case in court. Alleged victims no longer have to meet the high bar of proving sexual harassment is “severe and pervasive.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.