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DOJ investigation of Cuomo includes probe into possible discrimination, retaliation from office: report

A Justice Department investigation of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) includes a probe into whether his office was involved in a "pattern and practice of discrimination and retaliation" that would breach the Civil Rights Act's Title VII, The New York Times reported Saturday. 

The newspaper noted that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D) a letter dated Aug. 12 in which it notified her that such a probe was being conducted.

The Times, which spoke to two people who had reviewed the letter, said that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York was assisting the Justice Department in its investigation.

"Our understanding is that the Civil Division opened an inquiry in August based upon the AG's politically motivated sham report and we have heard nothing since," Richard Azzopardi, a spokesperson for the former governor, said in a statement when asked about the inquiry.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment to The Hill. A spokesperson for the Justice Department also declined to comment.

An agreement between law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and the New York State Executive Chamber that became public on Thursday indicated that the Justice Department had been conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo.

The Justice Department "and other law enforcement or investigative entities have made inquiries and requests for information related to the CHAMBER's COVID-19 pandemic response, including relating to Nursing Homes, publication of a COVID-related book authored by then Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and other pandemic related matters," according to the agreement.

"[The] DOJ has also undertaken an inquiry related to sexual harassment claims made against the then Governor," the document added.

The news comes several months after Cuomo resigned from his role as governor amid mounting pressure to do so following a damning report by James that found that he had sexually harassed 11 women.

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing.

The Hill has reached out to James's office for comment.

Updated at 6:46 p.m.

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