- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2021

A New York legislative probe released Monday found “overwhelming evidence” that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo engaged in sexual harassment and that he was not transparent about coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.

The 63-page report also concluded that Mr. Cuomo made state employees help produce his memoir on the pandemic during work hours.

“The former governor utilized the time of multiple state employees, as well as his own, to further his personal gain during a global pandemic – a time during which the former governor touted the ‘around-the-clock’ state response to the crisis,” the report states.

The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee hired Davis Polk & Wardell LLP in March to conduct the investigation to determine whether to file articles of impeachment against Mr. Cuomo.

The former governor, a Democrat, stepped down in August after New York Attorney General Letitia James published the results of a separate investigation that found he had sexually harassed 11 women, many of whom were his staffers or other state employees.

According to the committee, investigators reviewed nearly 600,000 pages of documents, including photographs, text messages, emails, phone-call recordings, videos, memos, interviews and transcripts. Mr. Cuomo was not interviewed, but he submitted written statements.

The report highlights sexual harassment complaints from two women, including an unnamed New York State Police trooper who alleges that Mr. Cuomo touched her inappropriately several times, including kissing and hugging her and running his finger down her spine.

Mr. Cuomo has publicly stated, “I don’t recall doing it, but if she said I did it, I believe her.”

Investigators say the state trooper’s testimony was corroborated by her colleagues, including some who witnessed the unwanted kissing and touching.

The investigation also details allegations from Mr. Cuomo‘s former Executive Assistant Brittany Commisso, who filed a complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office in August saying he grabbed her breast while they were at the governor’s executive mansion last year.

As a result, the former governor was charged last month with a misdemeanor sex-crime complaint. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms. Commisso’s accusations have been corroborated by her colleagues and by other evidence including text messages, the report states.

“We have reviewed the former governor’s challenges to the allegations, and nothing in his voluminous submissions can overcome the overwhelming evidence of his misconduct,” investigators wrote.

The probe also found that a New York State Department of Health report published in July last year was “not fully transparent” because Mr. Cuomo‘s staff purposely revised it to exclude coronavirus-related deaths outside of nursing home facilities.

The revisions, it said, were “largely intended to combat criticisms regarding former Governor Cuomo‘s directive that nursing homes should readmit residents that had been diagnosed with COVID-19.”

Mr. Cuomo also reportedly misused state resources and ordered employees to write, edit and promote his memoir “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” during regular business hours.

Investigators say a senior state official had “complained” in text messages that work related to the book was “compromising the official’s ability to work on COVID-related matters.”

The former governor reportedly attempted to “downplay” the extent of his earnings from the book by claiming it was mainly dependent on sales. The report, however, states that he “profited substantially” from it through $5.2 million in royalty advances, along with additional payments for certain sales targets.

Mr. Cuomo has demanded that investigators give him all of the evidence used for the report, but the committee said it is not required to do so.

“In the face of an impeachment trial, the former governor chose to resign, not to contest the available evidence and confront witnesses in that legal forum,” the report states. “Having foregone that opportunity, he is not entitled to the production of any further evidence from this committee.”

Investigators also said he only provided limited documents throughout the nearly six-month probe despite his public statements vowing full cooperation.

“Nonetheless, at no time has the former governor meaningfully complied with the committee‘s requests or cooperated with its investigation,” they wrote.

The Washington Times has sent a request for comment to Mr. Cuomo‘s attorney Rita Glavin.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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