"I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," said the New York governor.
On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo denied allegations of sexual harassment against several women, including some female employees, after an independent investigation accused him of it and of instituting a culture of fear within his administration.
"I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," Cuomo said in a televised speech. "I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is not what I am. And that is not who I have been, "he said.
The New York governor spoke out after publishing an explosive report by the New York attorney general's office, which prompted immediate calls for his resignation.
Cuomo, a political veteran who became particularly popular during the Covid 19 epidemic, said he has a habit of kissing and touching people, often in public as a sign of warmth and friendship.
They've seen me do it on television during all my press conferences and for 40 years before that," he said, while the broadcast showed images of the Governor greeting different people.
I try to make people feel comfortable. I try to make them smile. I try to connect with them, and I try to show them my appreciation and my friendship, "he added. I now understand that there are racial or cultural perspectives that, in fact, I did not fully appreciate. And I have learned from this".
An investigation into the New York governor found that he sexually harassed multiple women, current and former state government employees, state attorney general Letitia James announced Tuesday.
The nearly five-month investigation, carried out by two outside attorneys who spoke to 179 people, determined that the Cuomo administration was a "hostile work environment" and that it was "fraught with fear and intimidation ."
"These interviews and tests paint a worrying but clear picture: Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees, federal and state laws," James told a news conference Tuesday.
Those consulted included whistleblowers, current and former members of the executive chamber, state police, other state employees, and others who regularly interacted with the Governor.
According to the investigation, Cuomo and his excellent staff worked to retaliate against a former employee who accused him of committing a crime on at least one occasion.
According to the investigation, Cuomo was also found to be harassing women outside the government.
James said the investigation would not have been possible without the "heroic women who came forward."
Cuomo, however, claimed that his attorney has responded to all the allegations in a document that he said is available on his website for the public to review, noting that "the facts are very different from what has been portrayed."
Specifically, he spoke of the accusation of a former assistant who worked in his office until last November and who, in February of last year, reported that Cuomo asked him several uncomfortable questions about his sexual life, including the fact that he had been a victim of a previous sexual assault.
The politician had these types of conversations with that employee because he felt "very identified" with her situation. One of her relatives survived a childhood rape.
I thought I had learned a lot from my family's experience, and I'm sure I can help her through this difficult time.
The New York governor also assured that a "trial in the newspapers is not the way to establish the facts in this matter" and approved "the opportunity for a full and fair review before a judge and jury."
The 169-page report includes 11 complainants whose allegations have been elaborated in detail, 9 of whom are employees or former state employees, and all of whom have been harassed, humiliated, uncomfortable, and inappropriate by the Governor. Found, whether in an encounter or repeatedly.