Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” but that he intended to remain in office.
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday news conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.”
Cuomo said he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations.
Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made public.
Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign.
Before Wednesday’s news conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19.
He hadn’t spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration.
One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, said Cuomo asked her about her sex life and whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man.
Bennett rejected Cuomo’s apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting.
Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet.
Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations.
Another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding.
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