The same month that a woman who has accused Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment and claims he began to hone in on details of her personal life, the governor was laughing over his love life while his brother interviewed him on CNN.
On Saturday, The New York Times quoted former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, 25, as saying Cuomo sexually harassed her by asking about her sex life and any romantic interests she might have in a relationship with an older man. Bennett said that a June conversation with Cuomo that was over the line was preceded by one on May 15 that left her feeling very uncomfortable.
Only days before that, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was joking on camera with his brother, Andrew, whose 14-year relationship with partner Sandra Lee ended in November 2019.
— All News Inc. (@allnewsinc) May 7, 2020
“Do you think you are an attractive person now because you’re single and ready to mingle?” Chris Cuomo said. “Do you really think that you’re some desirable single person and that this is not just people’s pain coming out of them?”
“I think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” his brother replied.
“Listen to you, you got an answer for anything. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself these days, aren’t ya?” Chris Cuomo said.
Cuomo, whose administration is already embroiled in fighting off criticism that it covered up the extent of the deaths of home residents in the COVID-19 pandemic, told The Times that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”
But Bennett insisted that during a June 5 meeting with Cuomo, he went over the line multiple times.
“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett said.
Cuomo originally said he would have a hand-picked former judge investigate the matter, but changed tune Sunday amid a firestorm over the allegations and his initial response, according to The New York Times.
Nice try #CorruptCuomo. New Yorkers aren’t stupid.
Sexual predator Cuomo digging deeper and deeper into his cesspool of corruption.
Criminal sexual predators don’t get to unilaterally select the Judge you appointed to work with the AG to oversee an “independent investigation.”
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) February 28, 2021
Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, and Janet DiFiore, the chief judge on the state’s top court, will now pick the individual to oversee the investigation.
Some said this newest allegation made it time for Cuomo to go.
#BREAKING: Tonight I issued a statement regarding assertions of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo.
As a New Yorker, a legislator, Chair of the Senate Ethics and Internal Governance Committee, and a survivor of sexual abuse, I am calling for Governor Cuomo to resign. pic.twitter.com/2aKiN8CIkR
— Alessandra Biaggi (@SenatorBiaggi) February 28, 2021
.@NYGovCuomo, you are a monster, and it is time for you to go. Now.
— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) February 27, 2021
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden supports an “independent” investigation into the allegations.
“It was hard to read that story, as a woman,” Psaki said.
Bennett, according to the Times, said that during a June meeting with the governor he asked “questions about her personal life, including whether she was romantically involved, whether she was monogamous in her relationships and whether she had ever had sex with older men.”
Bennett told the Times that Cuomo told her that his former girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, was “out of the picture,” and that Cuomo spoke of “wanting a girlfriend, preferably in the Albany area.”
“He asked me if I believed if age made a difference in relationships and he also asked me in the same conversation if I had ever been with an older man,” Bennett told The Times, noting the Cuomo told her “he’s fine with anyone above the age of 22.”
She said that point came up when they had spoken about her upcoming 25th birthday.
According to The Times, Bennett was asked if she thought Cuomo’s remarks were “an entreaty to a sexual relationship.”
“That’s absolutely how it felt,” she responded.
Former aide Lindsey Boylan, who months ago called working for Cuomo toxic, had called Cuomo out last week in an essay on Medium in which she accused the governor of telling her that he wanted to play strip poker with her. Boylan also said Cuomo tried to kiss her.
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