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Special state investigators probing sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are focusing on whether any of his accusers were illegally targeted for retaliation, according to a report Tuesday.
Outside lawyers hired by Attorney General Letitia James have asked several witnesses about how Cuomo and his aides responded to the cascade of accusations that engulfed him earlier this year, the Washington Post said, citing sources familiar with the questions.
The lawyers — who include former Manhattan US Attorney Joon Kim — are reportedly probing whether Cuomo or any of his aides broke any laws or state rules regarding official retaliation against whistleblowers.
The witnesses were specifically asked about calls and meetings that took place before Cuomo’s office released former aide Lindsey Boylan’s personnel file to reporters, Washington Post said.
The three-term governor personally talked with advisers about how to handle the allegations from Boylan, people familiar with those conversations told the paper.
None of the advisers were identified in Tuesday’s report, but Cuomo has acknowledged that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, took part in a series of high-level strategy sessions.
Boylan, now a candidate for Manhattan borough president, has said that her personnel file was leaked in an effort to smear her.
Boylan initially accused Cuomo of having harassed her about her looks in December, but in February published a detailed essay on the Medium website in which she said Cuomo kissed her without consent in his Manhattan office and asked her to play strip poker during a flight on his official jet.
The essay spurred several other women to go public with other allegations against Cuomo.
The AG’s probe is one several underway against Cuomo, who is also being investigated by the FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office, as well as the state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, which is considering impeachment charges.
The subjects of the various probes include the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its cover-up of the total death toll of residents, as well as whether he illegally had state employees help prepare and promote his coronavirus memoir, which he sold for $5.1 million.
Cuomo, who is up for re-election next year and is planning a $10,000-a-person fundraiser later this month, has denied any wrongdoing.
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