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Cuomo denies former aide's sexual harassment allegations

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is denying allegations from a former aide who accused him of sexual harassment, including an unwanted kiss,...

Posted: Feb 25, 2021 2:24 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2021 5:00 PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is denying allegations from a former aide who accused him of sexual harassment, including an unwanted kiss, in a Medium post on Wednesday.

Lindsey Boylan alleged that in 2018, the Democratic governor kissed her on the lips following a one-on-one briefing in his New York City office.

'As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips,' Boylan wrote, describing the encounter. 'I was in shock, but I kept walking.' Boylan first accused the governor of sexual harassment in a Twitter thread in December.

'As we said before, Ms. Boylan's claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,' Caitlin Girouard, the governor's press secretary, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In that same statement, the office also issued a denial from four current and former staffers about a specific interaction on a flight wherein Boylan says the governor suggested they play strip poker. The four staffers, who flew with Cuomo and Boylan, said that this never happened.

Cuomo also firmly denied the allegations in a press conference in December when Boylan first made them.

CNN has not been able to corroborate the allegations, and when asked for further comment, Boylan replied that she was letting her Medium post speak for itself.

The post, however, has set off another series of bad headlines for the Cuomo administration.

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, released a statement on Wednesday calling the accusation 'disturbing.'

'This is deeply disturbing. Clearly there is no place for this type of behavior in the workplace or anywhere else,' Stewart-Cousins wrote.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked about the sexual harassment allegations, said that every person who comes forward with allegations deserves to have 'their voice heard' and confirmed that Cuomo will be in attendance at the Governor's Association meeting at the White House Thursday.

'The President has been consistent in his position. When a person comes forward -- they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Their voice should be heard, not silenced. And any allegation should be reviewed,' Psaki said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a 'full and independent investigation' into the allegations. Cuomo and de Blasio have a years-long history of animosity, mostly centered on who has authority to do what in New York City, including serious topics like power over the subways and funding for key programs.

'Look, these allegations are really disturbing, let's be clear about that, they're really disturbing,' he said, adding, 'We got to take this seriously.'

'When a woman comes forward with this kind of very specific allegation, they have to be taken seriously,' de Blasio said.

Cuomo, who had enjoyed sky-high popularity and national recognition for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, is now facing growing criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in his state regarding his administration's handling of nursing home death data. CNN has reported he has been pleading with lawmakers for support and has even been accused of threatening political retribution against Democrats who have criticized him in an aggressive effort to contain political fallout from the revelations.

CNN has also reported that the US Attorney's office in Brooklyn, along with the FBI, are scrutinizing the handling of some of the data surrounding Covid-19 deaths in long-term care facilities in New York. The inquiry was described as preliminary, and it was not clear whether authorities are looking at the governor himself or members of his administration.

Boylan is currently running for Manhattan borough president. She unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Jerry Nadler in a Democratic primary in 2020.

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