Andrew Cuomo’s personal attorney held a virtual press conference in some of the final hours before his resignation to renew claims of “inaccuracies” in the independent harassment probe and ask for edits to the 165-page report.
Rita Glavin held her third public briefing Friday, the first without apparent state resources, to deliver specific attacks against a number of the victims outlined in the report who have alleged various instances of sexually-based harassment at the hands of her client. It’s a signal of the governor’s determination to weather the fallout and continue his fight against the report long after he steps down.
On the same day movers were seen clearing out the Executive Mansion, Cuomo’s attorney said she’s preparing a letter to the attorney general’s office that will detail the “errors” and “omissions” that she hopes to be corrected.
Glavin targeted five women Friday, starting with Virginia Limmiatis, who has alleged the governor inappropriately touched her at a 2017 conservation event at Salman River. Photos obtained by Cuomo’s legal team show some of the moments he interacted with Limmiatis at the event, photos Glavin wants included in the report.
The attorney argued that the photos do not show the governor touching Limmiatis with “his right hand.” Although the photos don’t directly disprove any of Limmiatis’ claim, one of the photos shown by Glavin appears to show the governor reaching out toward his chest with his left hand.
Limmiatis’ attorneys released a statement calling the governor’s tactics the efforts “of a bully down and alone.”
“Here we go again. Abandoned and alone, Cuomo uses his last few days on the job to take care of himself rather than New York, and resorts to his old tactics. He gaslights and attacks the women who were brave enough to stand up to him and speak the truth,” the statement read, in part.
Then Glavin turned to “state entity employee #1” to argue email evidence supporting the woman’s account does not say the governor grabbed her butt, only that he tapped it twice. She also claimed to have new evidence against one of the governor’s most public accusers, Charlotte Bennett.
“We have been given some new information that pertains to miss Bennett, that relates to her credibility. I will not get into what the information is out of respect for Ms. Bennett,” Glavin said.
The thinly veiled attack of Bennett was followed up by familiar targets of Glavin, Brittany Commisso and Lindsey Boylan. Glavin wants additional information related to Boylan’s employment included in the report on top of the evidence suggesting members of the governor’s team retaliated against the former employee after she came forward.
According to Glavin, the report lacks fairness in its failings to provide favorable evidence to the governor. She says the report does not identify witnesses and members of his staff who spoke favorably about the governor and stated that did not see Cuomo conduct himself inappropriately.
In a surprise for those closely watching his scandals, Cuomo announced his resignation almost as a casual afterthought on Aug. 10, exactly a week to the day the bombshell report was released.
The resignation avoids him the potential embarrassment of becoming the second New York governor in history to be impeached and comes a day after the state Assembly judiciary committee convened to discuss a timeline for that probe.
Even as he announced he would resign from office, the governor continued to defend himself from what he said were “unfair” and “untruthful” sexual harassment allegations.
Cuomo’s spokesperson and senior adviser, Rich Azzopardi, had said the governor gave two weeks notice to “ensure an orderly transition at this critical time where the key decisions still remain on COVID, the delta variant and other significant challenges facing the state.”
Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has spent nearly two decades in New York politics, will be the 57th governor of New York and the first woman at the helm.
Cuomo’s resignation from office will be effective at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23, Hochul’s spokesperson Haley Viccaro said Tuesday. Details of how the power transfer will take place weren’t immediately available.
It’s likely Hochul, the lieutenant governor, will address the public sometime Tuesday for the first time as the state’s new governor.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Cuomo said that he believed he would “win” an impeachment trial, but didn’t go that route because it would make the state Legislature look like “a ship of fools.” NBC New York’s Adam Harding reports.