An attorney for Charlotte Bennet, a former Cuomo administration staffer accusing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, accused the governor of spreading falsehoods and inaccurate information after he apologized for making others uncomfortable but maintained that he never “touched anyone inappropriately” and suggested he didn’t know his actions made others uncomfortable.
“The Governor’s press conference was full of falsehoods and inaccurate information, and New Yorkers deserve better. The Governor repeatedly said he never touched anyone inappropriately. Ms. Ruch’s story makes clear that’s not accurate. The governor repeatedly said he had no idea he made anyone uncomfortable. My client, Charlotte Bennett, reported his sexual harassing behavior immediately to his Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel,” said attorney Debra Katz.
Over the past week, three women, including two former staffers, have accused Cuomo of making them uncomfortable. Anna Ruch, 33, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her lower back while at a wedding, and then when she removed his hands, Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked to kiss her. Ruch said she pulled away, but that a friend told her Cuomo managed to make contact with her cheeks while she did.
Cuomo said Wednesday that kissing has been a “usual and customary” form of greeting for him, but also said that his intentions didn’t matter. “If I ever did make people feel uncomfortable, which I now understand that I have, I apologize for it,” said Cuomo.
Bennet, 25, has accused Cuomo of asking her questions about her sex life, including whether she practiced monogamy and whether she had ever had sex with an older man. Cuomo, 63, told The New York Times that he has “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” Bennet, however, says that she reported an interaction to the governor’s chief of staff last June, when she says the governor talked about the loneliness of the pandemic and asked Bennett when the last time she “really hugged someone” was.
Katz, who also represented Christine Blasey Ford during the 2018 Kavanaugh nomination hearings, said in her Wednesday statement that Cuomo would have been made aware of Bennett’s complaint against him.
“We are confident that they made him aware of your complaint and we fully expect that the Attorney General’s investigation will demonstrate that Cuomo administration officials failed to act on Ms. Bennett’s serious allegations or to ensure that corrective measures were taken, in violation of their legal agreements,” said Katz.
“Further, as reports are emerging of other staff resigning from his office in the wake of his scandals, the people charged with helping him execute the duties of his office are once again bearing the consequences of his actions. If they know anything or have experienced this themselves, we call on them to come forward and report this misconduct,” she added.
Cuomo said Wednesday that he will not resign, and has asked that New Yorkers abstain from making conclusions about him until the attorney general’s investigation has concluded.