New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and three other Democratic governors from the Northeast called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Tuesday night after an investigation found he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers.
Murphy joined a growing number of Democrats, including President Joe Biden, who said it’s time for Cuomo, a three-term Democratic governor, to step down. He issued a joint statement with Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, and Gov. Dan McKee of Rhode Island.
“We are appalled at the findings of the independent investigation by the New York Attorney General. Governor Cuomo should resign from office,” they said in the statement.
The statement comes after the leader of the New York Assembly, which has the power to bring impeachment charges, said it was clear Cuomo could no longer remain in office. Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said he would move to complete an impeachment inquiry “as quickly as possible.”
Cuomo remained defiant, saying in a taped response to the findings that “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed” and that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
The nearly five-month, non-criminal investigation, overseen by New York’s attorney general and led by two outside lawyers, concluded that 11 women from within and outside state government were telling the truth when they said Cuomo had touched them inappropriately, commented on their appearance or made suggestive comments about their sex lives.
Those accusers included an aide who said Cuomo groped her breast at the governor’s mansion, and a state trooper on his security detail who said he ran his hand or fingers across her stomach and her back.
Anne Clark, who led the probe with former U.S. Attorney Joon Kim, said the allegations had varying degrees of corroboration, including other witnesses and contemporaneous text messages. Investigators interviewed 179 people, including the governor himself.
“These interviews and pieces of evidence revealed a deeply disturbing yet clear picture: Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of federal and state laws,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Many of the women said they feared retaliation if they reported Cuomo’s behavior, investigators said, describing his administration as a hostile workplace “rife with fear and intimidation.”
In early March, Murphy called allegations from two former Cuomo aides who said he sexually assaulted them “deeply troubling and deeply troubling” and said he supported an inquiry.
‘’I don’t have any insights,” the New Jersey governor said at a public event in response to a question about Cuomo. “So it appears as though they’re going to have an independent investigation. And that, to me, seems what they should be doing.”
Murphy added: “I would just add anybody who has any concern, expresses a concern, deserves to be heard and it deserves to be completely and thoroughly investigated.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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