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5 GOP state senators ask attorney general to probe harassment claims against Cuomo

Newsday Albany Bureau Chief Yancey Roy on Thursday

Newsday Albany bureau chief Yancey Roy on Thursday talked about the political turmoil surrounding Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Credit: Newsday / Yancey Roy

ALBANY — Five Republican women in the State Senate have asked Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an independent investigation into claims of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The lawmakers, including Sen. Alexis Weik (R-Sayville), said the "seriousness of the allegations clearly warrant a comprehensive, immediate investigation by an independent special prosecutor."

The Republican letter referred to an essay posted online Wednesday by Lindsey Boylan, a former high-ranking state economic development official, who said Cuomo made unwanted advances and kissed her without her consent. She said she resigned in 2018 not long after the incident.

A Cuomo aide said Boylan’s accusations were "simply false."

The Republican letter was signed by Weik, along with Sens. Pamela Helming (R-Canandaigua), Daphne Jordan (R-Halfmoon), Patty Ritchie (R-DePeyster) and Sue Serrino (R-Hyde Park).

The senators said Boylan’s claims shouldn’t be investigated by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics because it is led by Cuomo appointees.

So far, two Democrat women in the State Legislature — Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Assemb. Patricia Fahy (D-Albany) — also have called for an independent review that doesn’t involve JCOPE.

A number of other lawmakers around the state also have called for a probe, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In addition, the Time's Up Foundation, which was launched as part of the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, also called for a full and independent inquiry.

Boylan, who now is running for Manhattan borough president, had made general claims about Cuomo harassment in December. But on Wednesday, she wrote in more detail in a lengthy essay posted on Medium.com.

She said she wanted to call out Cuomo’s "bullying." She also said she was coming forward with specifics after Assemb. Ron Kim (D-Flushing) alleged the governor, in a phone call, threatened to "destroy" him for publicly calling for a criminal investigation of Cuomo’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Cuomo aide has said Kim was lying about details of that phone call.

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