‘Recipe for intimidating witnesses’: Lawyer for Cuomo accuser questions independence of AG investigation

Cuomo Under Fire

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A lawyer representing one of the former aides accusing Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment called on the Attorney General’s office to take “decisive action” to uphold a truly independent investigation.

NEWS10’s Stephanie Rivas spoke with Katz about her claims regarding the investigation and asked some tough questions, including why Charlotte Bennett decided to come forward.

“She came forward to support Lindsey Boylan,” said Katz. “She knew that the allegations were true. Because she felt she has a duty for the public to know the truth.” 

Bennett first publicly alleged that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed her multiple times in a New York Times article on February 27.

NEWS10 asked Katz if Bennett would be seeking any form of financial compensation by filing civil claims of sexual harassment or retaliation.

“No, what my client is seeking is that the truth come out,” Katz said.

On Monday morning, Katz sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office detailing her concerns about the investigation.

The letter stated that the Governor’s office offered in-house counsel to staffers called to interview for the Attorney General’s investigation. 

“If you fear retaliation, as most witnesses do, and you have the Governor’s lawyer accompanying you, it would be very chilling to what you will ultimately say and not say,” Katz said.

Katz said that is a recipe for intimidating witnesses and that presenting in-house counsel as an option to employees is a “deliberate attempt by the Governor to interfere with your office’s investigation.”

“These are the facts: outside counsel was hired to represent the Chamber,” Beth Garvey, Acting Counsel for Governor Cuomo said. “Employees have been advised that, if they want to be represented by a lawyer in this matter, they may choose private counsel or the outside counsel that is representing the Chamber.”

The Attorney General’s office created a website for contact, a hotline for voice messages, and a separate number for text messages for anyone with information regarding the sexual harassment investigation.

“It’s really crucial with individuals with relevant information to know that there are a number of avenues to report it, including confidentially,” Katz said.

Katz said those with information can choose to remain anonymous.

NEWS10 asked what outcome Katz’s client, Charlotte Bennett, wants from the Attorney General’s investigation.

“The bottom line is she has great confidence these investigators are skilled, they’re impartial, and they’ll reach the right result,” Katz said.

Katz said she believes the result will show that the Governor violated the law and will further reveal that he is not fit to hold office.

NEWS10 reached out to the Attorney General’s office regarding Katz’s claims about the investigation, and we didn’t hear back.

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