Former Capitol Hill aide says Democrat rejected a candidate on basis of ‘looks’, amid fall-out from attorney general’s sexual harassment probe
Two more women have reportedly come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Andrew Cuomo after a report found that he harassed nearly a dozen women, and was accused of refusing to hire women who were not “pretty enough”.
The New York governor, who has denied the findings of a 168-page report on sexual harassment, was accused of behaving inappropriately towards 11 women – nine of whom were employees – following an investigation carried out by the state’s attorney general.
Two more women allegedly came forward with allegations of their own on Monday, but according to The New York Post, were told that the investigation into Mr Cuomo was closed.
A source told the website that the two women, who were unidentified, “were referred to local law enforcement authorities”. It was also unclear what their allegations were.
Mr Cuomo, who has so far ignored calls to resign and is facing impeachment by New York’s assembly, was accused on Monday in a TV interview by his former assistant, Brittany Commisso, of breaking the law and repeatedly fondling her.
“He broke the law,” she said of Mr Cuomo, who has denied allegations that he fondled his 32-year-old assistant when they were alone together at the Executive Mansion in November 2020. “[He] needs to be held accountable.”
Ms Commisso – in the interview with “CBS This Morning”, which aired on Monday – went on to accuse the 63-year-old of lying about her being the “initiator” of hugs, which he said last week was common behaviour toward colleagues, and loved ones.
“These were not hugs he would give his mother or his brother,” Ms Commisso told CBS. “These are hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of it.”
Mr Cuomo is accused of groping Ms Commisso’s breast, and of fondling her while taking a selfie. That was when Ms Commisso felt “his hand go down my back onto my butt, and he started rubbing it. Not sliding it. Not, you know, quickly brushing over it – rubbing my butt.”
That interview followed the resignation of Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, on Sunday. She said that serving the people of New York had been “the greatest honour of my life”, but that “personally, the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying”.
Karen Hinton, a former aide to Mr Cuomo between 1997-2001, also alleged on Monday in an interview with The Post that he refused to hire a woman because she was “not pretty enough” – almost two decades before the allegations set out by New York’s attorney general last week.
Ms Hinton, who served as Mr Cuomo’s press secretary at the time, said he became “aroused” when he hugged her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2000. He also allegedly found the sex scandal involving former president Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky “funny”. Mr Cuomo was US housing secretary for Mr Clinton.
The office of New York’s attorney general and Mr Cuomo were approached by The Independent for further comment.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.