Four women who have accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment have received subpoenas to testify under oath, intensifying a state inquiry into the governor that got underway in March.
The New York Times first reported the subpoenas issued by the New York Attorney General’s office in the investigation into sexual harassment allegations.
Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to the governor whose allegations sparked the attorney general’s inquiry, is expected to provide testimony under oath in the next two weeks, her lawyer, Debra Katz told the Times.
Lindsey Boylan and female staffer who accused Cuomo of groping her in the Executive Mansion in Albany have also been subpoenaed, their lawyers told the Times. Ana Liss also received a subpoena, she told the paper.
Some of the women had already sat for lengthy interviews with investigators in the probe, although not under oath.
A person with knowledge of the investigation told the Times that the inquiry will almost definitely be wrapped up by the end of summer. New York Attorney General Letitia James, however, hasn’t announced a deadline for releasing findings for the inquiry which began in March.
James’ inquiry is just one of the investigations into Cuomo amid mounting claims of sexual harassment, in addition to parallel inquiries into alleged efforts by his office to conceal COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes last year.
The issued subpoenas come as outside lawyers hired by the attorney general have made requests for state records and have conducted preliminary interviews in recent months with several of the women now being asked to testify under oath.
Joon Kim, a former federal prosecutor, and Anne Clark, an employment lawyer, who are handling the inquiry have led those interviews, and have collected text messages, emails and photographs that Cuomo’s accusers say support their allegations. Kim has also been examining whether Cuomo or his aides broke any laws, destroyed documents or other evidence or otherwise sought to interfere or retaliate against Cuomo’s accusers.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and rebuffed calls to step aside as he rounds out his third-term as governor.
An emboldened Cuomo suggested on Thursday that making a person “feel uncomfortable” was not harassment, even though the Times points out he previously signed a law in 2019 that suggests otherwise.
“If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment, that is feeling uncomfortable,” Cuomo said on Thursday. “I never said anything I believed was inappropriate. I never meant to make you feel that way.”