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Gov. Cuomo faces questions about allegations of sexual harassment, issues new denial

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo, who issued a mea culpa for making anyone uncomfortable last month after several women accused him of sexual harassment, is now flat out denying all claims against him.

The embattled governor, facing calls for his resignation as well as an impeachment inquiry and other probes, offered a blanket denial Monday as he took questions from reporters in person for the first time in months.

“No. No, that’s why I said when people suggested, put it very simply no,” Cuomo said when asked about the various allegations made against him.

He then confidently claimed he will have no reason to resign or be disciplined because he believes the independent investigation into his conduct being overseen by Attorney General Letitia James will not uncover anything wrongdoing.

“The report can’t say anything different because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said during the brief back-and-forth with reporters at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

Cuomo has attempted to project a sense of normalcy in recent months as he and his administration have become engulfed in scandal. Until Monday, the governor chose to keep reporters at arm’s length by only taking questions via conference call or virtually, a practice chalked up to concerns about COVID.

Early last month, as a growing number of women, including several current and former staffers, came forward with claims of misconduct, Cuomo apologized for comments or behavior that may have “made people feel uncomfortable.”

“It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say, but that’s the truth,” he said at the time.

His previous statement was made in response to claims made by Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide who says the governor asked her about her sex life and whether she was interested in older men.

A current Cuomo staffer alleges the governor groped her after she was called to the Executive Mansion to assist him with his cell phone.

Asked Monday whether he has any regrets, Cuomo instead offered a monologue about hiring and promoting women.

“No. I have many women are working in state government,” he said. “I’m very proud that we probably have more women in senior positions than ever before and I think that is a good thing.”

Lindsey Boylan, a former adviser who has accused Cuomo of harassment and once kissing her without her consent, lashed out at the governor’s latest denial.

“He is a liar. Different day, different answer that he perceives as beneficial for himself,” she tweeted.

Cuomo also fielded questions about several other problems that have plagued his administration in recent months.

Amid reports that aides and senior staffers were tasked with helping him write and promote his COVID-themed book, titled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Cuomo repeated his claim that all of the extracurricular work was voluntary.

“People volunteered to work on the book. The inverse is also true, do you know anyone who says they had to work on the book who didn’t volunteer?” he said. “I didn’t have them sign a volunteer form if that’s what you’re asking.”

Cuomo once again blamed a federal probe and the controversy surrounding his handling of nursing home deaths during the crisis on politics, claiming his fraught relationship with the Trump administration was the root of the issue.

“What that is going to come down to, in my opinion, is the politics of COVID,” he said.

Critics have accused the Cuomo administration of intentionally withholding the true number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic. A report from James’ office released in January resulted in the state Health department finally releasing a full tally.

“The number was always going to be what the number was, but making sure the number was accurate, is what was important. Nursing homes were ground zero for COVID. We all knew that that was true all across the country,” Cuomo said. “The finger-pointing, that is just more of the ugly politics of the time.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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