Cuomo STILL refuses to quit as top Dems demand he resign but gov claims he had 'no inappropriate sexual relationships'
ANDREW Cuomo once again refused to quit after top Democrats demanded he resigns, but the governor claimed he had "no inappropriate sexual relationships."
"I'm not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people," Cuomo said on Friday afternoon.
During a Covid briefing this afternoon, Cuomo said "women have the right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully."
"But I also want to be clear, there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged," he said. "Period."
Before ending the conference, he finally confirmed: "I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate, period."
The New York governor's statement came after 11 Democrats called on Cuomo to resign over mounting sexual harassment allegations.
However, Cuomo said: "Politicians who don't know a single fact, but still form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous."
It comes after the state Assembly opened an investigation into the allegations against the 63-year-old Democrat and his handling of nursing home deaths.
The firestorm around Cuomo grew this week after it emerged the latest sex harassment claim that he "groped an aide under her shirt" has been reported to police.
Cuomo's governor job appears to be hanging by a thread after at least 121 members of the state Assembly and Senate called on Cuomo to quit, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
The count includes 65 Democrats and 56 Republicans.
As of Friday morning, a raft of powerful Democratic members of New York's congressional delegation had called on the governor to quit.
The members include Kathleen Rice, Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Grace Meng, Mondaire Jones, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velazquez, Adriano Espaillat, Anthony Delgado, and Carolyn Maloney.
When asked about whether or not he believes the elected officials were irresponsible for suggesting he should step down, Cuomo said: "I respect elected officials right to take position on anything.
"But as I said my way is know facts before having an opinion," he said.
Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman issued a joint statement, raising concerns about the present safety of Cuomo's staff.
"The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration's staff," the statement said.
Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter: "After two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign."
House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler also called for Cuomo to quit, commending the "bravery" of the women who have come forward to share their experiences.
In a statement on Friday, the top ranking Democrat said: "The repeated accusations against the Governor, and the manner in which he has responded to them, have made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point.
"Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Governor Cuomo must resign."
The entire Long Island delegation of the State Senate also urged Cuomo to "step aside" on Friday.
"The gravity of these claims makes it clear to us that the Governor cannot lead the state while faithfully responding to multiple investigations," a statement said.
"This is especially true in light of the impending state budget deadline, the need to continue guiding the state through the pandemic, and the fragility of the state's economic recovery.
"We call on the Governor to step aside at least until such time that the Attorney General's investigation is complete."
Among those calling for Cuomo’s immediate resignation is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who demanded he "can no longer serve as governor" as allegations mount.
"It’s deeply troubling," said Mayor de Blasio during his daily Covid-19 briefing Thursday.
"The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his – someone who he had power over – called them to a private place and then sexually assaulted her, is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me.
"He can no longer serve as governor anymore. It’s as simple as that."
Protesters outside Cuomo’s New York office have also called for him to step down, blocking Third Avenue in Manhattan as they urged him to "immediately resign".
It comes two days after Albany Police Department officials said they received a report from a state official about an alleged incident at the Cuomo's Executive Mansion involving him and a female aide which may have risen "to the level of a crime".
Cops received the referral on Wednesday after accusations Cuomo reached under the much-younger female aide’s blouse and fondled her after calling her to his private residence to fix his phone.
The aide alleges that Cuomo summoned her to the Executive Mansion in late 2020 and aggressively groped her in a sexual way, a person with knowledge on her claims told The Times Union.
It is the sixth sexual harassment claim to be made against New York governor Cuomo after a series of women have come forward alleging inappropriate behaviour.
The possible involvement of the cops comes as more lawmakers called on Cuomo to resign over alleged misconduct with women and allegations that his administration concealed how many nursing home residents died of coronavirus.
And the top Democrat in the state Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie, backed a plan for its judiciary committee to launch an impeachment investigation on Thursday.
The committee can interview witnesses and subpoena documents and its inquiry could be wide-ranging – from alleged sexual misconduct to coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes.
It won't interfere with a separate inquiry of sexual harassment allegations being conducted by state Attorney General Letitia James, according to Heastie and James.
"The Democratic Conference is taking the first step toward impeachment by opening an investigation with full subpoena power to obtain facts and testimonies under oath," Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
"Some members, including myself, argued that we had enough admission to proceed with impeachment today but the conference is leaning toward setting up the process and structure toward impeachment."
In New York, the Assembly has the power to impeach Cuomo.
The sixth woman joins former aides Charlotte Bennett and Lindsey Boylan in making sexual harassment accusations against the governor.
Bennett has alleged that Cuomo sexually propositioned her, telling her he was "lonely" and he wanted a girlfriend and was willing to sleep with a younger woman.
Cuomo addressed her allegations by confessing to "unwanted flirtation" and said he was "truly sorry" if he upset anyone with his "banter."
Lindsey Boylan denounced the New York governor as a "monster".
A third woman, Anna Ruch, also came forward and told The New York Times that Cuomo touched her lower back, then grabbed her cheeks and asked to kiss her at a September 2019 wedding.
During Friday's press conference, Cuomo admitted: "Is it possible that I have taken a picture with a person who after the fact says they were uncomfortable with the pose in the picture? Yes."
Cuomo also allegedly asked staffer Ana Liss, now 35, if she had a boyfriend and once touched her lower back at an event, according to a report.
In addition to Liss, another woman opened up this weekend about her experience working with Cuomo over two decades ago.
A former press aide of Cuomo, 62-year-old Karen Hinton, has alleged the governor summoned her to his "dimly-lit" hotel room and hugged her after a work event about 21 years ago, The Washington Post reported.
Hinton told the news outlet that she was a consultant for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was run by Cuomo, at the time of the incident.
Cuomo has repeatedly said he won't resign and urged the public to await the outcome of the attorney general's investigation.
He responded to the "harassment" claims earlier this week and revealed he was "embarrassed".
During a remote briefing mid-week, Cuomo said: "I understand sensitivities have changed, behaviors have changed, and I’m going to learn from it."
Cuomo said on Wednesday, according to his rep: "You know, my usual custom is to kiss and to hug and make that gesture."
The governor previously issued a statement, saying: "To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to."
Cuomo also denied the sixth aide’s allegations in a statement to The Times Union on Wednesday evening.
"As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching," Cuomo stated.
"I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report."
Federal investigators are also scrutinizing how the Cuomo administration handled data about how many nursing home residents have died of Covid.
The governor and his aides argued for months that it couldn't release full figures on deaths because it had yet to verify the data.
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