Politics

Cuomo Lawyers Up Amid #MeToo Allegations

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has chosen a former federal prosecutor and prominent white-collar defense attorney to deal with a federal probe into whether the New York Democrat knowingly undercounted COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

Elkan Abramowitz will represent the governor and his closest aides, The Wall Street Journal reported. Abramowitz did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Reporter Says Cuomo’s ‘Eat The Whole Sausage’ Comment Wasn’t Harassment)

Two different former Cuomo employees, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, have accused the governor of sexual harassment in the workplace. Cuomo has denied the allegations and said that he is often “being playful” and making “jokes that I think are funny” with employees.

Cuomo announced Saturday that former federal judge Barbara S. Jones would investigate harassment allegations levied against him, though Jones had worked with longtime Cuomo adviser Steven M. Cohen after she left her position as judge, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: New York Admits Knowingly Undercounting Nursing Home Deaths After Quietly Changing Reporting Rules)

Amid criticism over his choice, Cuomo announced Sunday that New York Attorney General Letitia James and Judge Janet DiFiore, who sits on New York state’s highest court, would jointly choose who would investigate the allegations.

NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 24: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo smiles during a press conference about recalled Toyota cars February 24, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm,” the governor said in a Sunday statement. “I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.” (RELATED: Cuomo Backs Off Appointing Judge With Ties To His Ally To Investigate #METOO Allegations)

“I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way,” he said. “I do it in public and in private.”

“You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”

The governor said that he understands now that some of his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal” and that given his position, some of his comments may have made others uncomfortable.

“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation,” Cuomo said. “To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”

This story has been updated to reflect that Abramowitz is only representing the Cuomo administration in the nursing home matter. Abramowitz originally told WSJ that he was both representing the governor in the harassment matter and the nursing home matter. 

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