State Watch

Cuomo accuser says she feels ‘vindicated’ by NY attorney general report

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Charlotte Bennett, one of the first women to publicly accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual harassment, said Tuesday that she feels “vindicated” by state Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) bombshell investigative report. 

In an interview on “CBS Evening News,” host Norah O’Donnell asked Cuomo’s former aide to comment on James saying during her press conference that she believed the 11 different women who came forward with allegations against the governor. 

“Today was so validating and really emotional,” Bennett explained. “I feel vindicated.” 

“It’s been a long day, but I’m proud to be a New Yorker right now,” she added. 

James’s report, which followed a months-long inquiry into the allegations, included interviews with 179 people, as well as a review of 74,000 pieces of evidence, such as documents, emails, texts, audio files and pictures.

The state attorney general specifically accused Cuomo of sexually harassing “current and former New York state employees by engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.” 

Cuomo has vehemently denied the allegations, and in a 15-minute video address released Tuesday singled out Bennett. He said he had asked her questions he would not normally ask staffers because she had shared that she was a survivor of sexual assault. 

In Tuesday’s CBS interview, O’Donnell asked, “Do you think he’s gaslighting you?” 

“Absolutely,” Bennett responded. “He’s trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can’t tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship.” 

“We have a report, we have the facts,” she continued. “The governor broke federal and state law when he sexually harassed me and current and former staffers.” 

Bennett went on to say that if Cuomo continues to show an unwillingness to “step down,” then “we have a responsibility to act and impeach him.” 

“He sexually harassed me,” Bennett said, adding that she was “not confused,” referencing Cuomo’s suggestion in his video address that various accusers “read into comments that I made and draw inferences that I never meant.”

Bennett also pushed back on Cuomo’s argument that he had been attempting to help her “through a difficult time,” arguing, “His intention was trying to sleep with me.” 

The former aide went on to say that Cuomo fully accepting responsibility for his actions would mean “stepping down,” adding his Tuesday video amounted to “propaganda” that was “not only uncomfortable and inappropriate, but downright weird and unnecessary.” 

Cuomo faces an ongoing impeachment probe in the New York assembly, and state Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said Tuesday that following the release of James’s report, “it is abundantly clear” that the governor “has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office.”

Tags Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo sexual harassment allegations CBS CBS Evening News Cuomo sexual harassment New York New York Attorney General's Office

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