ALBANY — Lawmakers are no longer holding their tongue when it comes to Albany’s most powerful politician.
In the wake of a second woman coming forward with claims of sexual harassment against Gov. Cuomo, Democrats and Republicans alike are piling one of the most feared men in politics and calling for, at bare minimum, an independent investigation into the allegations against him.
Sen. James Skoufis (D-Newburgh), the chairman of the state Senate investigations committee, said harassment “cannot be tolerated, regardless of how powerful individuals involved are.”
“The allegations made by, now, a number of women against the Governor are deeply disturbing and warrant an independent, outside, expeditious investigation,” he added in a statement.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, commenting on the allegations against Cuomo for the first time, also called for an independent probe.
“Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and taken seriously,” she said.
A group of five Republican state senators, all women, repeated their call for Attorney General Letitia James to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the governor.
“Governor Cuomo now more than ever must be investigated. We reiterate our original request and demand Attorney General Letitia James appoint a Special Prosecutor to review all of these recent allegations,” the group said.
Cuomo’s office announced an outside “review” will be conducted by a former federal judge after his latest accuser, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant and health-policy adviser in his administration, came forward Saturday.
Bennett told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her questions about her sex life, including whether she was monogamous in her relationships and if she had ever had sex with older men.
Her claims come days after Lindsey Boylan, another former aide, wrote an online essay detailing several “inappropriate gestures” Cuomo made toward her before once kissing her on the mouth without her consent.
Several New York City mayoral candidates, who might have to forge a working relationship with the governor should they make it to City Hall, spoke out on the issue in light of the latest accusations.
Andrew Yang issued a statement calling for an “aggressive independent investigation” into the matter.
Fellow mayoral candidate Maya Wiley went further.
“I am disgusted. I believe Charlotte Bennett,” Wiley said. “Senior officials in the Governor’s office were aware of his behavior. What happened to these complaints? Why was no further action taken? How many other times has this happened?”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, also running for mayor, said he continues to “support a thorough and truly independent investigation of the Governor’s conduct, and if it supports these serious and credible allegations, Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Others, including several of Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, went further, saying that the time for a probe had past and directly called on the embattled governor to immediately step down.
“(Gov. Cuomo), you are a monster, and it is time for you to go. Now,” Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) tweeted.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) repeated her assertion that Cuomo should step down on Saturday, labeling the governor a “criminal sexual predator.”
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican who mounted a failed bid to unseat Cuomo in 2018, said the governor should resign if an independent investigation confirms the claims.
“We start by believing these courageous women. There must be a serious independent investigation, victims heard, truth sought and justice served,” he said. “If true, the Governor is not fit to serve. He must resign or be removed from office.”
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