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An Emboldened Cuomo Takes Swings at Accusers and Investigators – The New York Times



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“He can’t move on,” Andrew Cuomo’s lawyer said, attacking the credibility of some of the women who accused the former governor of sexual harassment.
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Luis Ferré-Sadurní and
Not long after a misdemeanor sex-crime charge was dropped last month against former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, his aides told his supporters to stay tuned, signaling that he would soon go on the attack.
On Thursday, Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, did just that, holding a nearly two-hour news conference to try to undermine the credibility of some of the women who accused Mr. Cuomo and to sharpen her broadsides against the state attorney general’s office, which oversaw the investigation that concluded Mr. Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women.
In one example, Ms. Glavin cited a threatening message that she said one of Mr. Cuomo’s accusers, Lindsey Boylan, had sent her boss. The attorney general, Letitia James, did not release the contents of the message, Ms. Glavin said, but Mr. Cuomo’s camp had learned of it as part of the criminal case against the former governor that was recently dismissed.
Ms. Glavin also highlighted other previously undisclosed comments or messages from some of Mr. Cuomo’s accusers and other witnesses, suggesting that they showed that both the report — which she said deliberately ignored evidence favorable to the former governor — and Mr. Cuomo’s accusers were compromised.
She would not speculate on Mr. Cuomo’s political future, noting that the former governor was still exploring “whatever legal options he has available to him.”
“He can’t move on,” she said. “He won’t move on until the right thing happens.”
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office released a statement saying that Ms. Glavin’s news conference amounted to “another attempt by the former governor to attack the brave women who called out his abuse.”
“Thousands of pages of transcripts, exhibits, videos, and other evidence have already been publicly released, but these lies continue in an effort to mask the truth: Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women,” the statement said, adding that the claims had been corroborated by a separate investigation by the State Assembly.
Some of the evidence Ms. Glavin cited on Thursday was turned over to Mr. Cuomo’s lawyers as part of the legal process, after the Albany County sheriff’s office filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Cuomo on charges of groping Brittany Commisso, a former executive assistant. Prosecutors in Albany ultimately decided to drop the case earlier this month, though they said that they found Ms. Commisso credible.
Ms. Glavin’s most vociferous attacks were directed at the first woman to accuse Mr. Cuomo, Ms. Boylan, a former economic development official. She has accused Mr. Cuomo of kissing her on the lips after a meeting in his Manhattan office and of asking her if she wanted to play strip poker while they were on a flight back in October 2017.
Howard Zemsky, the former head of Empire State Development and Ms. Boylan’s former boss, had told investigators under oath that he remembered Mr. Cuomo making such a comment on the flight, after initially saying he did not recall it.
Ms. Glavin suggested that Mr. Zemsky changed his testimony after Ms. Boylan sent him a threatening message.
“I can’t wait to destroy your life,” Ms. Boylan wrote to Mr. Zemsky through an encrypted messaging application, according to testimony Mr. Zemsky gave to investigators, Ms. Glavin said.
The attorney general’s report did acknowledge that Mr. Zemsky received a “disparaging” message from Ms. Boylan, which he found “jarring” and “threatening,” but the content of the message was not included in the report. Ms. Glavin said that investigators never questioned Ms. Boylan about the threatening message; officials from the state attorney general’s office said they never obtained the actual message.
The path to resignation. After drawing national praise for his leadership in the early days of the pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was confronted with several scandals that eventually led to his resignation on Aug. 10, 2021. Here is what to know about his political demise:
Sexual harassment accusations. Multiple women accused Mr. Cuomo of harassment, including groping and lewd remarks. An independent inquiry by the New York State attorney general corroborated the accounts. The investigation also found that he retaliated against at least one woman who made her complaints public.
Nursing home controversy. The Cuomo administration came under fire for undercounting the number of nursing-home deaths caused by Covid-19 in the first half of 2020. The official tally might have undercounted the true toll by as much as 50 percent.
Book deal. The attorney general’s report found that Mr. Cuomo used state workers to produce his pandemic memoir, breaking a promise to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics not to use state resources for its completion. The board subsequently voted to revoke its authorization for the book.
Chris Cuomo’s involvement. Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor and Andrew Cuomo’s brother, was suspended indefinitely by the network on Nov. 30, after the New York State attorney general released new evidence about his far-reaching efforts to assist his sibling that were in breach of journalistic standards. He was fired on Dec. 4.
“The former governor and his attorney are continuing their smear campaign of Ms. Boylan to punish her for being the first of multiple women to expose the governor’s misconduct,” Julie Gerchik, a lawyer for Ms. Boylan, said in a statement on Thursday.
Ms. Glavin also claimed that one of Ms. Boylan’s campaign consultants, Lupe Todd-Medina, had quit because she did not believe Ms. Boylan’s allegations, and Ms. Glavin castigated the attorney general for failing to speak to her.
But Ms. Todd-Medina said that was inaccurate, explaining that her decision to leave the campaign was unrelated to the allegations, and saying that she had, in fact, spoken with investigators.
Ms. Glavin also sought to poke holes in the credibility of Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who said that Mr. Cuomo had quizzed her about her sex life. Ms. Glavin questioned why the attorney general report made no mention of an episode from Ms. Bennett’s time as an undergraduate at Hamilton College.
Ms. Bennett and three others accused a male classmate of sexual misconduct, resulting in his removal from campus, Ms. Glavin said. That student later sued the college, charging that he had been falsely accused and that Ms. Bennett (referred to by a pseudonym in the lawsuit) knowingly filed a false claim against him. The lawsuit was later settled by the school.
“Rita Glavin’s comments are a transparent, shameless effort to discredit Charlotte, whose allegations were substantiated by both the attorney general and the State Assembly,” Debra Katz, a lawyer for Ms. Bennett, said in a statement. “They have no purpose other than to punish Charlotte for coming forward by smearing her reputation.”
Ms. Glavin also took aim at a peripheral accusation that was not one of the 11 accounts highlighted by the attorney general: testimony from a female state trooper who said she had once been told by a senior member of the governor’s security detail that he had seen Mr. Cuomo and a top aide, Melissa DeRosa, “making out on the sidewalk like they were high schoolers.”
Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer has denied that account, contending that it amounted to hearsay and that investigators should have redacted it from the transcript. On Thursday, Ms. Glavin pressed on, saying that her team had received documents showing that the senior member of the security detail had told investigators that he had never seen Mr. Cuomo kissing Ms. DeRosa.


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