By Ellen Cans
On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the sexual harassment allegations made against fellow Democrat, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are “credible.”
As reported by the NY Post, Pelosi is now part of the growing voices of Democrats who say they want an independent probe to delve into the accusations of misconduct made against Gov. Cuomo by two of his former staffers. “The women who have come forward with serious and credible charges against Governor Cuomo deserve to be heard and to be treated with dignity,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The independent investigation must have due process and respect for everyone involved.”
The third term governor has just recently agreed to allow state Attorney General Letitia James to appoint an outside investigator for the probe. Originally, on Saturday, his senior adviser Beth Garvey said that the administration had selected former federal Judge Barbara Jones to lead the inquiry. That statement quickly drew disapproval from bipartisan politicians, who said that Cuomo cannot direct his own investigation. Critics also pointed out that Jones had previously worked closely with lawyer and key Cuomo adviser, Steve Cohen.
On Sunday morning, the chorus of reproach intensified, with several NY lawmakers, including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, declaring the importance of an unbiased investigation. “These allegations are serious and deeply concerning,” Gillibrand (D-NY), said in a statement. “As requested by Attorney General James, the matter should be referred to her office so that she can conduct a transparent, independent and thorough investigation with subpoena power.” It was following these comments, that the Cuomo administration accepted James’s request for her office to appoint an independent investigator, as prescribed by law.
Later on Sunday, the governor issued an apology trying to explain the allegations. “At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended,” he added. “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry.”
On Monday morning, on Hot 97 radio show, Mayor Bill de Blasio ripped the governor’s statement. “Who the hell tries to explain that by saying I was just joking around,” said Mayor de Blasio.