The speaker of the New York State Assembly said on Tuesday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had lost the support of the Democratic majority in the assembly and could no longer serve as governor.
The statement from Speaker Carl E. Heastie came after an emergency meeting with fellow Democratic members on Tuesday to discuss how the body — which has the sole power to impeach Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — should address the attorney general’s findings that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women, most of them state employees.
Mr. Heastie said in his statement that “it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office.”
He added: “We will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
During the video meeting, which began at 2 p.m. and stretched for more than two and a half hours, most of the lawmakers who spoke said that they believed enough evidence existed for the Assembly to draw up articles of impeachment as soon as possible, according to four people with knowledge of the proceeding.
About 50 or 60 people spoke, the people said, and the discussion focused on the issue of timing: how fast could the Assembly draw up the articles and make them thorough enough for an impeachment trial in the State Senate?
The speaker and the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine, argued that the articles could not be drawn up immediately, the people said.
But no timetable was set during the meeting, according to the people. The Judiciary Committee is expected to meet and discuss the impeachment investigation on Monday.
According to a person familiar with the process, it could take a month to complete the inquiry and draw up the articles of impeachment. A trial in the State Senate could commence as soon as late September or early October, the person said.
The Assembly has so far served as a kind of firewall for Mr. Cuomo since multiple accusations of sexual harassment first surfaced earlier this year and top New York Democrats, including Senator Chuck Schumer and the leader of the State Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, called for Mr. Cuomo to resign.
At the time, more than two dozen Assembly Democrats said that they would withhold judgment until Attorney General Letitia James could finish her review.
Now that it has been completed, attention quickly swung back to the Assembly.
“The vast majority of the conference is ready to impeach him,” one of the people with knowledge of Tuesday’s meeting said. “It’s clear there’s a change. A number of people who typically side with leadership said, ‘This is done.’”
Another person said that the atmosphere was devastating for Mr. Cuomo. “There was not a single word of support for the governor.,” the person said.
Before convening his members on Tuesday, Mr. Heastie went further in criticizing the governor in his public comments than he had before, saying that Mr. Cuomo’s conduct, as described in the report, “would indicate someone who is not fit for office.”
Even before the report was released, the Assembly had begun a wide-ranging impeachment investigation, led by outside attorneys from the firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. Its purpose has been to determine whether the governor “has engaged in conduct which merits impeachment,” according to Mr. Lavine, whose committee is overseeing the investigation.
But that inquiry had been seen by many in Albany as a way to buy the governor time. It is looking not only at sexual harassment but also at other accusations involving Mr. Cuomo’s misuse of power, including a $5.1 million book contract and his handling of nursing home data during the coronavirus pandemic.
Though the investigators began their work months ago, they were moving more slowly than the attorney general’s office. In recent weeks, however, their activity appeared to increase, according to three people familiar with the investigation.
The attorney general’s report would become part of the Assembly inquiry’s fact finding, and on Tuesday, the Assembly requested the report and “all relevant evidence” gathered by the attorney general’s office in its investigation, according to Ms. James.
President Biden called on Tuesday for the resignation of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York after the state’s attorney general found that Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, had sexually harassed multiple women.
Asked at the White House if Mr. Cuomo should leave office, Mr. Biden responded bluntly: “Yes.” He stopped short of calling for Mr. Cuomo to be removed if he refuses to resign. “Let’s take one thing at a time,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden, a longtime friend of Mr. Cuomo’s, had avoided addressing the accusations when they arose earlier this year, appearing content to stay on the sidelines of a growing rift between the Democratic Party and the increasingly isolated New York governor.
In March, when asked about the accusations against Mr. Cuomo, the president told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that the governor should resign if the investigation turned back evidence of harassment.
“Yes,” Mr. Biden said at the time. “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
Mr. Biden did not say Tuesday if he supported the idea that Mr. Cuomo should be prosecuted, and he did not answer when asked what message he had for Mr. Cuomo’s accusers.
“What I said was if the investigation by the attorney general concluded that the allegations were correct, back in March, I would recommend he resign,” Mr. Biden said. “That is what I’m doing today.”
The president said that he had not spoken to Mr. Cuomo and that he had not read the full report on the harassment accusations, issued on Tuesday by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James.
“All I know is the end result,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Cuomo, who is facing a criminal investigation by the Albany County prosecutor, has vowed to stay in office, calling the report biased and saying the “facts are much different from what has been portrayed.” But on Tuesday, the last of his high-profile Democratic allies began distancing themselves.
“As always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth,” Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, said in a statement. “Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the governor to resign.”
Ms. Pelosi’s condemnation was all the more striking given the close personal relationship she has shared with the Cuomo family, fellow Italian American Democrats, going back more than 40 years. At the invitation of President Jimmy Carter, Ms. Pelosi and Mario Cuomo traveled from village to devastated village in Italy in 1980 to offer a show of American support after a major earthquake left more than 2,000 people dead.
Four years later, Mr. Cuomo delivered his famous Tale of Two Cities speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, Ms. Pelosi’s adopted hometown; she served as chairwoman of the host committee. She has remained close to the current governor, as well, and held back when other Democratic leaders rushed to call for his ouster this spring.
After her statement on Tuesday, that only left Mr. Biden, who initially had emphasized the importance of an independent investigation to verify the claims. The two formed a friendship as Mr. Biden was mulling running for president in 2015. The president wrote in his memoir that Mr. Cuomo was one of the few Democrats who did not dissuade him from exploring a campaign: “You’ll live with it the rest of your life,” Mr. Biden recalled Mr. Cuomo saying.
Mr. Biden has since thought of Mr. Cuomo warmly, and eventually the friendship grew into a vital political alliance, particularly as both men have worked to beat back the spread of the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden appeared to offer a gesture of support for the governor when asked if he approved of Mr. Cuomo using photos of the two men embracing to suggest that his physical contact with others was commonplace.
“I am sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent,” Mr. Biden said. “Apparently the attorney general decided there were things that were not.”
Earlier in the day, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, was asked to expand on Mr. Biden’s feelings about the harassment. She would only offer her own.
“All women who have lived through this type of experience,” Ms. Psaki said, “harassment or abuse or, in the worst case, assault, deserve to have their voices heard. I don’t know that anyone could’ve watched this morning and not found the allegations to be abhorrent.”
She added: “I know I did.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former government workers, breaking state and federal laws and engaging in a pattern of unwanted touching and inappropriate comments, according to a report from the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, released on Tuesday.
The 165-page report said that Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, and his aides cultivated a toxic work culture in his office that was rife with fear and intimidation, and helped enable “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.”
The report included at least two previously unreported allegations of sexual harassment from women who accused Mr. Cuomo of improperly touching them, including an unnamed female state trooper and an employee of an energy company. And it highlighted at least one instance in which Mr. Cuomo and his aides retaliated against a woman who made her allegations public.
“Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of both federal and state laws,” Ms. James said. “The independent investigation found that Governor Cuomo harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women, by engaging in unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and by making inappropriate comments.”
After the release of the report, a growing number of Democratic lawmakers called on Mr. Cuomo to resign from office. President Biden bluntly said “yes” when asked if he thought the governor should step down.
The Democratic speaker of the State Assembly, Carl E. Heastie, said the chamber would finish its impeachment investigation of the governor “expeditiously,” adding “he can no longer remain in office.”
Criminal charges were possible as well. The Albany County district attorney, David Soares, said in a statement that his office was conducting an investigation into Mr. Cuomo and encouraged other victims to contact his office.
In a video statement, Mr. Cuomo denied wrongdoing and declared that “the facts are much different from what has been portrayed.”
“I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said. “I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that’s not who I have ever been.”
Mr. Cuomo did not take questions from reporters but pointed to a document refuting each of the women’s claims that was posted on his website. He said that “trial by newspaper or biased reviews” was not the way to treat the allegations.
The findings of the report could also fuel support for impeachment proceedings against Mr. Cuomo in the State Legislature. Outside lawyers hired by the Assembly’s judiciary committee are looking at the sexual harassment claims and other scandals linked by the question of whether or not Mr. Cuomo abused his power while in office.
The attorney general’s investigation was conducted by two outside lawyers hired by Ms. James: Joon H. Kim, a former top federal prosecutor, and Anne L. Clark, a well-known employment lawyer.
On Tuesday, Mr. Kim said their investigation revealed “a pattern” of behavior from Mr. Cuomo and found that the culture within the executive chamber “contributed to conditions that allowed the governor’s sexually harassing conduct to occur and to persist.”
“It was a culture where you could not say no to the governor and if you upset him or his senior staff you would be written off, cast aside or worse,” Mr. Kim said. “But at the same time the witnesses described a culture that normalized and overlooked everyday flirtations, physical intimacy and inappropriate comments by the governor.”
The investigators said 11 women had accused Mr. Cuomo of a range of inappropriate behavior. Investigators said they interviewed 179 witnesses and collected tens of thousands of documents to corroborate the claims.
Ms. Clark said that the governor’s conduct detailed in the report “clearly meets, and far exceeds” the legal standard used to determine gender-based harassment in the workplace.
“Women also described to us having the governor seek them out, stare intently at them, look them up and down or gaze at their chest or butt,” she said. “The governor routinely interacted with women in ways that focused on their gender, sometimes in explicitly sexualized manner in ways that women found deeply humiliating and offensive.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is under criminal investigation, the Albany County district attorney said Tuesday, as a report by the New York State attorney general found that the governor had violated state and federal law by sexually harassing his employees.
The report, released by the attorney general, Letitia James, and the announcement from the Albany County prosecutor, David Soares, endangered Mr. Cuomo’s political future while also placing him in legal jeopardy.
“Governor Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees in violation of both federal and state laws,” Ms. James said, adding that the governor’s administration had “fostered a toxic workplace” in which staffers suppressed complaints because of a “climate of fear.”
“This investigation has revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government,” Ms. James said.
One of the investigators hired by Ms. James, Anne L. Clark, said that Mr. Cuomo’s behavior had violated a legal standard that he himself had signed into law regarding the determination of gender-based harassment in the workplace.
“In New York, a woman need only show that she was treated less well at least in part because of her gender,” Ms. Clark said. “The governor’s conduct, detailed in the report, clearly meets and far exceeds this standard.”
Shortly after the report was released, Mr. Soares issued a statement saying that his office was conducting an investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s behavior and that it would be requesting investigative materials that the attorney general’s office had obtained. Mr. Soares encouraged other victims to come forward to aid in the inquiry.
It was not immediately clear when Mr. Soares had opened his investigation or exactly which behavior he was looking into. A spokeswoman for his office, Cecilia Walsh, said only that the office was looking into “any allegations that rise to the level of criminal conduct.”
In an interview with NBC Nightly News, Mr. Soares said that some of the allegations had suggested criminal activity had taken place, but that his office would conduct its own, independent investigation.
He added that no accusers had lodged a formal complaint with his office, even as its investigators had sought to make contact with some of them.
Rita Glavin, a lawyer for Mr. Cuomo, released a preliminary response to the report Tuesday afternoon, calling it “unfair” and “inaccurate.”
“Regrettably, as the findings in the report show, the investigators have directed an utterly biased investigation and willfully ignored evidence inconsistent with the narrative they have sought to weave,” her response said.
The attorney general’s report said that the Albany Police Department had been notified of allegations in the report, including that the governor had groped the breast of an unnamed executive assistant.
A lawyer for the executive assistant, whose identity has not been reported, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Several lawyers said that the actions described in the report could constitute misdemeanor sexual assault and that the Albany prosecutors could consider that charge, among others.
Kevin Mintzer, a lawyer who has represented several women in sexual misconduct cases, said that while Mr. Cuomo could clearly be held individually liable in state civil court for his conduct, a criminal charge could be difficult for prosecutors to prove.
“Our criminal laws don’t cover much of what sexual harassment is, at least in the workplace,” he said.
As a practical matter, Mr. Mintzer said, prosecutors would have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, a high legal hurdle.
“It’s a fact that this workplace touching and groping is not usually criminally prosecuted,” Mr. Mintzer said. “Whether or not that’s the way it should be is a separate issue.”
The attorney general’s report zeroed in on what it said were violations of federal and state civil law, finding that Mr. Cuomo’s actions had created a hostile work environment. The governor may face lawsuits from one or several of his accusers based on the behavior described by witnesses in the report.
A lawyer for one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett, said that her client had no plans to sue, but lawyers for some of the other women, including Lindsey Boylan, Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, said that no final decision had been made.
“Ms. Boylan is not excluding any options,” said her lawyer, Jill Basinger.
Under New York state law, individuals, as well as employers, can be held responsible in civil court for a hostile work environment if the individuals were found to be “personally involved” in harassment.
Lawyers for the women whom Mr. Cuomo was said to have sexually harassed called on him to resign on Tuesday, calling the report “damning” and “devastating.”
Debra Katz, Ms. Bennett’s lawyer, said in an interview that the investigators had done a thorough job and called on Mr. Cuomo to “do the right thing and resign.”
“His behavior was egregious, and he does not deserve the position he now holds,” she said.
Mariann Wang, a lawyer for Ms. McGrath and Ms. Limmiatis, said the report showed that Mr. Cuomo should not be in a position of power. Ms. Limmiatis accused the governor of having touched her inappropriately; Ms. McGrath said that he had made inappropriate comments about her personal life.
“He harassed and demeaned women, fundamentally treating them like objects, and if they dared to complain or not participate, he punished them brutally,” Ms. Wang said.
She added that even if Mr. Cuomo did not end up facing criminal charges, it did not suggest that the behavior described in the report was not “incredibly serious.”
“The fact that somebody isn’t pursued for criminal charges does not mean that his behavior is either acceptable or lawful,” she said.
William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.
Letitia James, the New York attorney general, unveiled the findings of her office’s sexual harassment inquiry into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday, describing the report in stark terms and declaring that “we should believe women.”
As she revealed that two outside investigators found during a five-monthlong inquiry that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women, Ms. James said the state had “an obligation to protect women in their workplace.”
That, she concluded, was the most important takeaway of the report, which supported their accusations and provided them in detail.
“I believe women, and I believe these 11 women,” she said at the conclusion of a nearly hourlong news conference Tuesday.
The moment was one that Ms. James had not herself sought; Mr. Cuomo, under pressure when the accusations against him first began, referred the matter to her office.
But in the end, she took it on with the conviction and oratorical flair that has marked her rise through New York politics.
Ms. James, a Democrat who is the first woman and first Black person to be elected attorney general in New York, had been considering a run for mayor back in 2018, when the state’s then-attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, abruptly resigned from the post after four women accused him of physical abuse.
She then ran for attorney general, with the backing of Mr. Cuomo, who was running for re-election as governor and with whom Ms. James aligned her campaign. Ms. James then cruised to victory in the general election.
During her campaign, Ms. James largely ran on her opposition to then-President Donald J. Trump. After she was elected, her office opened investigations into Mr. Trump and his family business, as well as several banks that financed Trump Organization projects.
But Ms. James has also shown a willingness to jump into the fray on several other high-profile issues. Her office has investigated pandemic safety concerns at Amazon warehouses and sued the National Rifle Association. She has also called for an end to mayoral control of New York City’s police department.
Many of Ms. James’s competitors in her election criticized her ties to Mr. Cuomo, raising concerns that she would not investigate allegations of misconduct against him. But in January, Ms. James’s office reported that the governor’s administration had underplayed coronavirus-related deaths of state nursing home residents, undercounting them by the thousands.
Still, concerns over the ties between the two elected officials led Ms. James to deputize the independent investigators to conduct the inquiry into the sexual harassment allegations.
Though Mr. Cuomo initially seemed to voice support for an independent investigation, he and his aides have since raised concerns that the inquiry may be politically motivated.
They have suggested that Ms. James’s report may be swayed by her apparent interest in running for governor and challenging Mr. Cuomo’s re-election bid next year. Ms. James has made no public remarks suggesting she will do so.
Asked on Tuesday whether the findings of her investigation should be enough to compel the resignation of Mr. Cuomo, Ms. James demurred.
Instead, she pointed to the bravery of the women, state employees, who had come forward to report abuse by the governor, their ultimate boss.
The New York State attorney general’s report on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo focused on allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct made by 11 women, nine of whom are current and former state employees.
The report outlined detailed accounts from those women, whose accusations of improper behavior include inappropriate comments and unwanted physical contact. Mr. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing and has at times suggested that his actions and relationships with employees may have been misinterpreted.
The inquiry was sparked largely by accusations made by Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant to Mr. Cuomo who lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him last year.
Ms. Bennett accused the governor of making sexual overtures while the two of them were in his office in the State Capitol last June. The report found that Mr. Cuomo asked whether she had relationships with older men, told her that he was “lonely” during the pandemic and “wanted to be touched” and asked if she was monogamous.
Ms. Bennett’s accusations followed allegations made by Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, who said that Mr. Cuomo had harassed her multiple times from 2016 to 2018. The report found that Mr. Cuomo touched her waist, legs and back; kissed her on the cheek and lips; and suggested once on a plane that the two play “strip poker.” The report also said that the governor’s office “actively engaged in an effort to discredit” her.
Another former aide, Ana Liss, told The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Cuomo made her uncomfortable by asking personal questions about her love life, touching her on the lower back and kissing her on the hand — allegations that were supported by the report.
Ms. Liss told investigators that Mr. Cuomo also kissed her on the cheek. While she found his behavior unwelcome, she felt that she could not rebuff the governor “because saying no could result in being ostracized or fired,” according to the report.
Alyssa McGrath, who spoke to The Times in March, became the first current aide in Mr. Cuomo’s office to speak publicly about allegations of harassment inside the Capitol. The report found that Mr. Cuomo acted inappropriately toward her, including by asking about her marital status and staring down her shirt and commenting on a necklace that was inside it.
Another current aide, who was identified in the report as Executive Assistant #1, had accused Mr. Cuomo of groping her breast in the Executive Mansion last year. The report bolstered the account, saying that “the Governor, during a hug, reached under Executive Assistant #1’s blouse and grabbed her breast.”
The report also found that Mr. Cuomo’s behavior toward the woman included “regular hugs and kisses on the cheek (and at least one kiss on the lips)” and incidents where the governor grabbed her butt.
The attorney general’s report describes several incidents in which Mr. Cuomo is accused of harassing an unnamed female state trooper on his protective detail.
According to the report, Mr. Cuomo asked to have her join the detail after a brief meeting in 2017. He then “sexually harassed her on a number of occasions,” according to the report, including running his hand across her stomach when she held the door open for him at an event; running his finger down her back in an elevator; kissing her on the cheek; and asking her why she did not wear a dress.
The investigators included an account from Virginia Limmiatis, an employee of an energy company who said that Mr. Cuomo touched her chest and brushed his hand between her shoulder and breasts at an event in 2017.
They provided detailed accounts of misconduct from two unnamed employees of New York State-affiliated entities. One woman said that Mr. Cuomo asked her to pose for a photograph during an event in New York City in 2019 and then touched the area between her butt and her thigh.
The second, a doctor and former state Health Department employee said that Mr. Cuomo made uncomfortable comments when she was giving him a nasal swab during a coronavirus-related news conference last year.
The investigators discussed the experience of a woman named Kaitlin, whose last name was not given in the report and whose account was described in detail in New York Magazine. Kaitlin said that Mr. Cuomo often commented on her appearance and made her feel uncomfortable.
The report also provided an account from Anna Ruch, who accused Mr. Cuomo of making an unwanted advance at a wedding, including asking to kiss her.
Though she is not mentioned extensively in the report, investigators also spoke with Karen Hinton, who worked closely with Mr. Cuomo when he was federal housing secretary. Ms. Hinton said she discussed harassment in the office and what she described as Mr. Cuomo’s flirtatious and abusive behavior.
The 165-page report that the New York State attorney general released on Tuesday found that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and contained statements from the women accusing Mr. Cuomo of unwanted touching and making inappropriate comments.
Here are selected comments from some of the women, as cited in the report.
Executive Assistant #1, according to the report, had been regularly hugged and kissed on the cheek by Mr. Cuomo, who also had grabbed her butt.
“He was my boss, let alone the governor of the State of New York, so I definitely felt he abused his power and definitely knew that he had this presence about him, very intimidating, no one ever told him that he was wrong nor were you told to do so. He definitely knew what he was doing was inappropriate.”
Trooper #1, a state trooper assigned to Mr. Cuomo’s protective detail, was sexually harassed several times by Mr. Cuomo, the report said, including an incident when he ran his finger down her spine inside an elevator.
“It’s kind of just … a known thing if [the governor] sees a good-looking female, it … puts him in a good mood.
“I felt completely violated. But, you know, I’m here to do a job.’’
Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, had been harassed numerous times by the governor, the report said. It said he kissed her on the lips and touched her waist, legs and back.
“I’ve been sexually harassed throughout my career, but not in a way where the whole environment was set up to feed the predator, and this and every interaction I had with the governor and the culture felt like it was all to feed the predator.”
Charlotte Bennett, a former top aide to Mr. Cuomo, accused the governor of making sexual overtures. The report said the governor had asked her if she dated older men, whether she was monogamous and suggested once that they play strip poker.
“I felt really uncomfortable, but I was sensitive to the fact that I was — I was scared and I was uncomfortable, but I also was acutely aware that I did not want him to get mad. I know him, I’ve seen his temper, I’ve heard it.’’
Alyssa McGrath, a current Cuomo aide, spoke about her reluctance to tell anyone about what she experienced. The report said that Mr. Cuomo had acted inappropriately toward her, including asking about her marital status and staring down her shirt.
“I obviously want — I wanted to believe that I’m up there and helping out because of my good work. And I felt like if I said that to them, not only would I be embarrassed. I would, like, almost discredit myself … I didn’t want them to think that that was the reason why we were up there. And, you know, they’ve already made comments here and there. Like, “of course the governor wants — he calls you guys on the weekends. He wants pretty … faces around.”
Ana Liss, a former Cuomo aide, described to The Wall Street Journal behavior by the governor that made her uncomfortable, including asking about her personal life and kissing her on the hand. Those allegations were bolstered by the report.
“The tolerance for those micro-flirtations, I guess, that would allow for him to act a certain way behind closed doors with women in more serious manners.”
An employee with a state entity identified as Employee #1 told investigators that the governor had grabbed her butt during a work event.
“I felt deflated and I felt disrespected and I felt much like smaller and almost younger than I actually am.”
Virginia Limmiatis, an employee of an energy company, said the governor touched her chest at an event, telling her that he would tell people that there was something on her shirt.
“I didn’t know how to report what he did to me at the time and was burdened by shame, but not coming forward now would make me complicit in his lie, and I won’t do it.”
Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo who accused him of sexual harassment, criticized the governor’s response to a state attorney general report finding that he had harassed 11 women, saying on Tuesday that Mr. Cuomo was not taking sufficient responsibility for his actions.
In an interview with The New York Times, Ms. Bennett also called on the State Assembly, which is conducting a broad impeachment inquiry into Mr. Cuomo, to move quickly.
“It’s clear that he won’t take responsibility,” Ms. Bennett said of Mr. Cuomo, “and we have to look to the Assembly speaker to start impeachment proceedings immediately. There’s not much left to consider.”
Investigators retained by the state attorney general found that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed the women, including Ms. Bennett, with behavior ranging from inappropriate or suggestive comments to unwanted kissing and groping.
Ms. Bennett accused Mr. Cuomo of making sexual overtures and comments while they were alone in his State Capitol office in June 2020, when she said Mr. Cuomo asked her whether she was monogamous and if she had sex with older men. The investigators’ report bolstered her account.
She also told The New York Times in February that the governor had asked her if she thought that age made a difference in relationships and had told her that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s — remarks that she interpreted as unwanted sexual advances.
Mr. Cuomo, in his remarks after the attorney general’s report was released, specifically addressed Ms. Bennett’s allegations. He said that she had told him about being a sexual assault survivor — something about which she has been open — and he had tried to be supportive and helpful.
Ms. Bennett’s experience resonated with Mr. Cuomo, he said, because he had a family member who had survived sexual assault in high school. Mr. Cuomo had felt powerless to help that relative, whom he did not name, and Ms. Bennett, he said, “brought it all back.”
Mr. Cuomo said that he hoped he could draw on his past experience to assist Ms. Bennett with the trauma of her abuse. “I did ask her questions I don’t normally ask people,” he said.
The governor said that his efforts may have been inappropriate and that they fell short of his intentions. But he also defended his remarks by saying that Ms. Bennett and her lawyer had misunderstood his questions and motives.
“They read into comments that I made and drew inferences that I never meant,” Mr. Cuomo said. “They ascribe motives I never had. And simply put, they heard things that I just didn’t say.”
But Ms. Bennett pushed back against Mr. Cuomo’s comments, saying that he appeared to be “victim blaming” and shifting the burden to her.
Mr. Cuomo’s remarks, she said, illustrated “that he’s not operating in reality and at this point, it’s besides the point.”
Asked to reflect on her initial decision to speak out in February, Ms. Bennett paused for a moment. “I am glad that I came forward,” she said. “I am proud of my decision.”
In a separate interview with CBS Evening News that aired later on Tuesday, Ms. Bennett told Norah O’Donnell said that Mr. Cuomo was “trying to justify himself by making him out to be someone who can’t tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship, and I think that’s absolutely absurd.”
Among the findings of the state attorney general’s report was that Mr. Cuomo sang the song “Do You Love Me?” — recorded by the Contours in 1962 — to Ms. Bennett during a phone conversation in 2019. The attorney general’s office posted a recording of the call.
An unnamed state trooper assigned to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s protective detail was among the women who accused the governor of harassment in a state attorney general’s report released Tuesday.
The state trooper told the investigators that she and Mr. Cuomo met briefly for a few minutes at an event in November 2017 at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in New York City.
After the two met, Mr. Cuomo spoke to an unnamed senior member assigned to his protective detail and asked that the female trooper join the detail, the report said.
The woman was hired into the detail even though she did not meet the three years of experience with the State Police that was a requirement for the posting, the investigators said.
In an email cited in the report, the senior member of the detail who spoke with Mr. Cuomo told the woman, “Ha ha they changed the minimum from 3 years to 2. Just for you.”
After the woman was moved to Mr. Cuomo’s protective detail in January 2018, the governor “sexually harassed her on a number of occasions,” the report said. The woman told investigators that the governor’s behavior was “flirtatious” and “creepy” and that he did not act in a similar way toward men.
The woman told investigators about several offensive comments by Mr. Cuomo that made her uncomfortable, including multiple times when he criticized her for not wearing a dress, which she said she interpreted as a suggestion that she wear “tighter clothes.”
She also said she felt particularly uncomfortable when Mr. Cuomo once asked her why she wanted to get married, saying that “it always ends in divorce, and you lose money, and your sex drive goes down,” according to the report.
The trooper also described multiple instances in which the governor made unwanted physical contact. In an elevator in Mr. Cuomo’s Manhattan office, she said, he once stood behind her and ran his finger from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back, saying “Hey, you,” she told investigators.
In the summer of 2019, when she was outside his home in Mt. Kisco, in Westchester County, she asked if Mr. Cuomo needed anything, to which he responded, “Can I kiss you?”
In that moment, she told investigators, she froze, wondering how she could politely decline without Mr. Cuomo somehow retaliating. So she replied, “Sure.” When Mr. Cuomo kissed her on the cheek, she said, he said something acknowledging that the behavior was improper. The incident was corroborated by another member of the protective detail, investigators said.
Mr. Cuomo then asked to kiss her on another occasion later that year, the trooper told investigators. That time she declined.
In September 2019, while the trooper was providing security at an event in Long Island and was holding open a door for Mr. Cuomo, he ran his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, she said.
A male State Police investigator told the attorney general’s legal team that he saw Mr. Cuomo touch her stomach and asked if she wanted to report it, according to the report. She said at the time that she was fearful of retaliation, he said.
Mr. Cuomo denied touching the female trooper on the stomach or the back and said that he may have once kissed her on the cheek at a Christmas party, according to the report.
A spokesman for the State Police said that the attorney general’s report was under review and declined to comment further.
Thomas H. Mungeer, the president of the union that represents New York state troopers, said in a statement that he was “outraged and disgusted” that one of his members assigned to ensure the governor’s safety “could not enjoy the same sense of security in her work environment that he was provided.”
The accusations against the governor seemed particularly shocking given that the trooper had taken an oath to uphold the law, some of the episodes occurred in front of other state troopers, and the trooper herself was armed.
“He’s in a position of power, even over an armed state trooper, and he took advantage of that,” Mr. Mungeer said in an interview.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo did not limit his sexual harassment to women who worked for him, state investigators found. He also targeted at least one woman who was waiting in line to meet him following a speaking engagement in upstate New York.
The woman, Virginia Limmiatis, told investigators that Mr. Cuomo touched her “inappropriately” after the event in May 2017.
After the governor spoke, Ms. Limmiatis, who works for the energy company National Grid, waited in line to meet him. She was wearing a shirt with her company’s name on it.
When Mr. Cuomo reached Ms. Limmiatis, she stretched out her hand to shake his.
Instead, the governor “ran two fingers across her chest, pressing down on each of the letters as he did so and reading out the name of the energy company as he went,” according to the report. “The governor then leaned in, with his face close to Ms. Limmiatis’s cheek, and said, ‘I’m going to say I see a spider on your shoulder,’ before brushing his hand in the area between her shoulder and breasts (and below her collarbone).”
Ms. Limmiatis was “shocked,” according to the report, and immediately told other guests.
When she returned to her office, she told her boss what had happened. He did not suggest reporting it to National Grid or to the governor’s executive chamber, according to the report.
National Grid said in a statement Tuesday that it “supports its employees’ rights to maintain privacy and refers questions about this matter to the employee’s personal attorneys handling the case.”
Ms. Limmiatis did not initially pursue the matter further.
“How do you explain to someone what the governor did in public, such an egregious act, heinous act,” she told investigators. “I was very fearful.”
She ultimately came forward with her story after Mr. Cuomo told reporters on March 3 that he had never touched anybody inappropriately.
“I didn’t know how to report what he did to me at the time and was burdened by shame, but not coming forward now would make me complicit in his lie, and I won’t do it,” Ms. Limmiatis told investigators.
In his testimony, Mr. Cuomo disputed Ms. Limmiatis’s account “and he generally denied touching anyone inappropriately,” the report says.
Ms. Limmiatis referred requests for comment on Tuesday to her attorney, Mariann Wang.
In a statement, Ms. Wang said Mr. Cuomo “should not be in charge of our government and should not be in any position of power over anyone else.”
The state attorney general’s finding that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law ignited searing criticism of the governor on Tuesday and sparked calls for his resignation from the leaders of both houses of Congress and every single Democratic member of Congress from New York State.
“Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the Governor to resign,” said Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Ms. Pelosi issued her comment after Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate, reiterated his demand that Mr. Cuomo resign.
On Tuesday morning, Attorney General Letitia James released a report finding that Mr. Cuomo had “harassed multiple women, many of whom were young women.” Her report ended up swaying three congressmen who had formerly refrained from calling for Mr. Cuomo’s ouster — Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Thomas Suozzi and Gregory Meeks. On Tuesday they said, “The time has come for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to do the right thing for the people of New York State and resign.”
Shortly thereafter, 12 other members of the state’s Democratic delegation joined in. In a joint statement, Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Brian Higgins, Nydia Velázquez, Ritchie Torres, Yvette Clarke, Kathleen Rice, Grace Meng, Adriano Espaillat, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said, “For the good of New York State, Andrew Cuomo must resign. If he does not, the New York State Assembly must begin impeachment proceedings.”
They pointedly noted that Mr. Cuomo called for Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s resignation after findings of sexual harassment, and said Mr. Cuomo should follow his own advice.
“We note with interest Governor Cuomo’s own May 17, 2013, statement calling on Assembly Member Vito Lopez to ‘resign, effective immediately’ when the Assembly investigation announced its findings. “‘There should be a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment and we must now send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated,’” they quoted Mr. Cuomo as saying at the time. “We agree.”
But Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, showed no inclination to heed their call.
In a video rebuttal, Mr. Cuomo disputed the attorney general’s findings and disparaged her aims. He said, as he has in the past, that he has “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
It is not clear how tenable Mr. Cuomo’s hold on power remains. He appears to have few allies left that are not in his employ. Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor of New York City on whom Mr. Cuomo has lavished praise in recent weeks, called for Mr. Cuomo’s impeachment.
“Attorney General James conducted a thorough and revealing investigation that yielded disturbing conclusions about the conduct of Governor Cuomo,” he said in a statement. “It is now the duty of the New York State Assembly to take swift and appropriate action and move forward with impeachment proceedings if the governor will not resign.”
Other leading Democrats were even more forceful.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Mr. Schumer, who had called for Mr. Cuomo to step down in March and again on Tuesday, said, “The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office.”
Carl E. Heastie, the State Assembly speaker, said the report’s findings were “disturbing” and added that “the conduct by the governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office.”
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the majority leader of the State Senate, repeated her call for Mr. Cuomo’s departure, as did Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has frequently butted heads with Mr. Cuomo.
Mr. de Blasio said on CNN on Tuesday evening that Mr. Cuomo should resign or be impeached “as quickly as possible.” Asked if criminal charges should be considered, the mayor said, “it looks that way to me,” and pointed to the investigation in Albany County.
“My heart goes out to these women,” he said. “They were put through hell by a powerful man.”
Should Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo resign, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would replace him and would become New York State’s first female governor.
A former congresswoman from the Buffalo region and a lawyer, Ms. Hochul has won two elections for lieutenant governor. She is not considered particularly close to Mr. Cuomo.
In a statement, she suggested she retained no allegiance to him, after the release of the state attorney general’s report on Tuesday, which found evidence that Mr. Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, most of them state employees.
“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service,” Ms. Hochul said. “The attorney general’s investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward.”
“No one is above the law,” she said. “Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps. Because lieutenant governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.”
Ms. Hochul is considered a moderate Democrat, known for her skill in retail politics and her frequent travels around the state. She earned her law degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., then started her political career working as an aide to Representative John J. LaFalce and, later, to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Returning to upstate New York, Ms. Hochul won a 2011 special election for Congress, but lost her bid for re-election the next year after reapportionment made her district more Republican. She first won election as lieutenant governor in 2014, running with Mr. Cuomo’s support. She won re-election in 2018, fighting off a primary challenge from a more progressive candidate, Jumaane D. Williams, now the New York City public advocate.
Speaking from Albany shortly after the release of the attorney general’s report on sexual misconduct allegations against him, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo defended his behavior toward women on Tuesday, reiterating his contention that he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate advances.”
Saying that the swirl of allegations had marked a painful period for his family, Mr. Cuomo suggested that the report was biased and politically motivated, saying that the “facts are much different from what has been portrayed.”
“I have lived my entire adult life in public view,” Mr. Cuomo said, in an address that appeared to be recorded. “That is just not who I am, and that’s not who I have ever been.”
As he has previously, Mr. Cuomo defended his actions by saying that he often hugs people, kisses them on the cheek or takes their faces into his hands.
As he spoke, he offered as evidence a slide show of photographs that showed him publicly kissing and touching the faces of family members, elected officials and political supporters from diverse backgrounds.
“I do it with everyone,” Mr. Cuomo said, also noting that his gestures were “meant to convey warmth, nothing more.”
He also acknowledged that he has made jokes or called women “sweetheart,” “darling,” or “honey” at times, though he did not characterize such behavior as inappropriate, saying only that there were differing “generational or cultural” perspectives on such behavior.
The governor defended his office by describing it as a high-pressure, demanding workplace, but not a toxic or sexually hostile environment. “My office is no typical 9-to-5 government office,” he said.
But Mr. Cuomo sought to deflect accusations that top aides in his office, many of them women, had contributed to an abusive workplace culture, by claiming that those allegations were sexist.
“A strong male manager is respected and rewarded,” said Mr. Cuomo, who himself has been accused of bullying aides and elected officials. “But a strong female manager is ridiculed and stereotyped. It is a double standard.”
Unlike Ms. James, Mr. Cuomo did not take questions from the news media. He said a document prepared by his personal attorney refuting each of the women’s allegations would be posted on the governor’s website.
But Mr. Cuomo responded directly and at some length to the allegations of two women: Charlotte Bennett, who was the second former aide to publicly accuse Mr. Cuomo of harassment, and an unnamed executive assistant who has said that Mr. Cuomo groped her in the Executive Mansion in Albany.
Of Ms. Bennett, the governor said that he asked her questions about her personal life in a bid to help her deal with the trauma of a past sexual assault. He said that her experience as a sexual assault survivor resonated with him because he had a family member who had survived sexual assault in high school.
The governor said that his efforts may have been inappropriate and that they fell short of his intentions. But he also defended his remarks by saying that Ms. Bennett and her lawyer had misunderstood his questions and motives.
Ms. Bennett, in response, criticized Mr. Cuomo’s comments, saying that he appeared to be “victim blaming” and pointing to her history as a way to justify his behavior.
Of the unnamed assistant, Mr. Cuomo said, as he has in the past, that the incident “never happened.” He noted that the woman’s lawyer had suggested she might file a lawsuit, and Mr. Cuomo said that he welcomed the chance to present his case in court.
“Trial by newspaper or biased reviews,” he said, was not the way to treat her claims.
Mr. Cuomo also said that he had asked an expert to design a new sexual harassment training program for himself and his office. The governor did not address the accusation that one of his top aides had previously completed such a training, which is required by state law, in 2019 on his behalf.
One of his lawyers has previously denied that allegation. But the attorney general’s investigators said that one of Mr. Cuomo’s aides admitted that she signed Mr. Cuomo’s name on the form attesting he had taken the training that year.
In his response to a state attorney general’s report that concluded he sexually harassed women, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vowed on Tuesday to create a new sexual harassment training program for his office.
But Mr. Cuomo did not address an allegation that he did not complete a similar program himself as required by state law — a statute he had signed — and that one of his top advisers, Stephanie Benton, had taken the training on his behalf.
In March, as allegations of sexual harassment began to mount against Mr. Cuomo, he was asked at a news conference whether he had taken the sexual harassment training required by state law. “The short answer is yes,” he said.
But Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who was one of the first women to publicly accuse Mr. Cuomo of sexual misconduct, later told CBS News that she overheard Ms. Benton tell Mr. Cuomo that she had completed a mandatory sexual harassment training for him in 2019. She added that Ms. Benton had treated it as a joke.
Mr. Cuomo’s office has said that Ms. Benton, the governor’s office director, denied the exchange took place. They have also said that Mr. Cuomo took the training himself.
After Freedom of Information Act requests from reporters, the governor’s office released a form from October 2019 that appeared to show Mr. Cuomo had taken the sexual harassment training.
But in the attorney general’s report, investigators wrote that the signature on the form did not appear to match Mr. Cuomo’s signature on official documents like executive orders.
The report said Ms. Benton had admitted to investigators that she had signed the document with Mr. Cuomo’s name. She said she did so after the governor had “reviewed the training material,” the report said.
Mr. Cuomo also said under oath to investigators that he did not remember taking the sexual harassment training in any year other than 2019. The report did not say whether investigators believed Mr. Cuomo had actually taken the training.
A lawyer for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sought to defend him against a report that found he had sexually harassed current and former government workers by comparing his behavior to those of politicians embracing hurricane victims.
In her response to a report released by the New York state attorney general, the lawyer, Rita Glavin, included photographs of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama hugging survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, making the argument that Mr. Cuomo’s physical displays of affection were “unremarkable.”
“Democratic and Republican politicians, male and female alike, use handshakes, hugs, and kisses to connect with others,” her response said.
As further evidence, Ms. Glavin’s response also included photos of President Biden hugging a supporter at a campaign rally, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Cuomo himself.
When asked about the legal strategy, Mr. Biden, who has said that Mr. Cuomo should resign over the allegations in the report, said, “I am sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent. Apparently, the attorney general decided there were things that were not.”
The attorney general’s report found that Mr. Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, and engaged in “unwanted groping.”
Among other allegations, the report found that the governor had groped the breast of one of his aides and run his hand across the stomach of an unnamed state trooper.
Pete Souza, the White House photographer for the Obama administration, said on Twitter that he resented Mr. Cuomo using a photo he took of Mr. Obama as part of the governor’s defense.
Ms. Glavin’s use of the pictures echoed Mr. Cuomo’s own defense of his actions, which he claimed were well within the norm of political behavior. At a news conference on Tuesday, he said that he kissed constituents on the cheek regardless of their gender, race or how well he knew them.
As he spoke, Mr. Cuomo played a slide show of him kissing others, including former President Bill Clinton and the actor Robert De Niro.
New details emerged on Tuesday about the involvement of the star CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had in shaping the strategic response to allegations against his brother, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, of workplace sexual harassment.
Chris Cuomo was identified in a report by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, as an ongoing participant in strategy calls with Governor Cuomo’s inner circle. That group was described to investigators by Richard Azzopardi, the governor’s senior adviser, as “people who have been with us for a long time who we could trust.”
One document included in the report shows Chris Cuomo participating in an email chain on Feb. 28 in which the group drafted a formal public statement for Governor Cuomo; the statement was issued by the governor’s office later that day. Chris Cuomo appeared to weigh in on the wording of the statement, although it was unclear if he wrote it.
Chris Cuomo was also interviewed by investigators from Ms. James’s office as part of their preparation of the report.
CNN had no immediate comment on Tuesday.
Chris Cuomo apologized to CNN viewers in May when it was revealed that he had offered political advice to his brother, a clear breach of traditional ethical barriers between journalists and lawmakers. The anchor, whose 9 p.m. show is CNN’s highest-rated program, called his actions “a mistake,” but he also described himself as “family first, job second.”
CNN took no disciplinary action against its anchor. The network issued a statement calling Chris Cuomo’s actions “inappropriate” and noting that it had previously barred him from covering news stories involving his brother.
In the early days of the pandemic, however, Governor Cuomo was a frequent guest on his brother’s CNN program, especially after Chris Cuomo, who is 13 years younger than the governor, tested positive for the coronavirus. The anchor’s on-air interviews with his brother, which Chris Cuomo conducted from isolation in the basement of his family home, riveted viewers and were praised by CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker.
On Tuesday, CNN aired coverage of Ms. James’s report, and the network carried Governor Cuomo’s televised response. At one point, the CNN anchor John King acknowledged his network colleague’s involvement in a brief statement to viewers.
“I want to put this on the record,” Mr. King said during his midday show. “Many of you know this, but the governor’s brother, Chris, works right here at CNN as an anchor. We should note that he was interviewed as part of this report, as someone who reached out to talk to his brother as this crisis was unfolding.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s public attitude toward the report on allegations of sexual misconduct has changed notably since March, when, under pressure to resign, the governor welcomed the inquiry and urged patience from the public.
“Let the attorney general do her job,” he said then of Letitia James. “She’s very good. She’s very competent, and that will be due process and then we’ll have the facts.”
The following month, Mr. Cuomo shifted to predictions about the content of the report, saying that the investigators would find no evidence of wrongdoing.
The report could not find differently, he said, “because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
By May, Mr. Cuomo, whose political future had seemed in doubt just weeks earlier, had returned to his familiar, combative posture, asserting that he “did nothing wrong, period.”
“If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment, that is feeling uncomfortable,” Mr. Cuomo said then.
Two months later, his office completed a full about-turn. In response to the news that he would be interviewed by investigators, one of his senior advisers, Richard Azzopardi, said in a statement that “the governor doesn’t want to comment on this review until he has cooperated.”
“The continued leaks are more evidence of the transparent political motivation of the attorney general’s review,” Mr. Azzopardi added. He provided no evidence that the attorney general was leaking information.
On Tuesday, Ms. James announced that a four-month investigation had found that Mr. Cuomo sexually harassed women, created a toxic workplace environment and retaliated against at least one woman for making her complaints public.
Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, oversaw the inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, but she hired two lawyers outside her office to conduct the investigation.
The lawyers, Joon H. Kim, a former acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Anne L. Clark, who has extensive experience in employment law issues, were hired in March.
For weeks, the two lawyers have presided over an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment and other questionable behavior by the governor, directly interviewing many of the witnesses. They have also been looking more broadly at workplace culture in Mr. Cuomo’s office and whether officials properly followed procedure when responding to sexual harassment complaints, people familiar with the matter have said.
Ms. Clark, a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, has represented plaintiffs in workplace discrimination and sexual harassment cases, both in government and in the private sector.
Earlier in her career, she was a staff lawyer at the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, an advocacy group for women’s rights now known as Legal Momentum.
Mr. Kim, currently a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, specializes in internal investigations and regulatory enforcement. He also spent years working for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. From March 2017 to January 2018, he served as the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, after Preet Bharara was forced out of office by President Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Kim has investigated Mr. Cuomo before. He served as Mr. Bharara’s chief counsel when the U.S. attorney’s office investigated Mr. Cuomo’s decision in 2014 to disband an anticorruption panel and the governor’s possible interference with the panel’s work. That investigation determined that there was “insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime.”
In his time as acting U.S. attorney, Mr. Kim was involved, before trial, in the prosecution of Joseph Percoco, who was once one of Mr. Cuomo’s most trusted aides and a close friend. Mr. Percoco was convicted of federal corruption charges in 2018, and Mr. Cuomo has distanced himself, though members of his inner circle have for years quietly raised money for Mr. Percoco.
Ms. James hired Mr. Kim and Ms. Clark, in part, to skirt any appearance that the investigation into Mr. Cuomo would be politically motivated. Nonetheless, in recent weeks, as the attorney general’s investigation appeared to be entering its final stages, Mr. Cuomo and his office have expressed some doubt over the neutrality of the outside lawyers.
They have pointed in particular to Mr. Kim’s past experience investigating the governor’s administration and his ties to Mr. Bharara.
“I have concerns as to the independence of the reviewers,” Mr. Cuomo, who authorized the attorney general’s investigation earlier this year, said at a news conference last week.
Mr. Cuomo’s aides have also suggested that the attorney general’s inquiry is politically motivated because of Ms. James’s supposed interest in running for governor, though Ms. James, a Democrat, has not said publicly that she is interested in doing so.
During their investigation into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the legal team deputized by the state attorney general questioned some of Mr. Cuomo’s closest aides and confidantes.
Some of the women who accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment and misconduct have said that top staff members in the governor’s office improperly handled their complaints. Others have said that senior advisers to Mr. Cuomo fostered an unprofessional work environment.
It remains unclear whether any of those questioned will be implicated in potential misconduct.
Melissa DeRosa, Mr. Cuomo’s top aide and the highest ranking unelected official in the state, is one of several senior Cuomo aides accused of fostering a toxic work environment in the governor’s office, including screaming and cursing at subordinates over small mistakes.
Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Mr. Cuomo, was one of several top Cuomo aides who called former employees to ask about Lindsey Boylan, one of the first women to accuse Mr. Cuomo of misconduct.
Some said they felt the calls were meant to intimidate them; Mr. Azzopardi has previously said the calls were not coordinated and were not meant to silence anyone.
Judith L. Mogul began serving as special counsel to the governor in 2019. She and Jill DesRosiers, who served as Mr. Cuomo’s chief of staff, were senior aides who handled a sexual harassment complaint made last year by Charlotte Bennett, the second woman to publicly accuse Mr. Cuomo.
Ms. Bennett’s lawyer, Debra Katz, said that both women failed to properly report the allegations to the government office that would have been responsible for investigating them. Ms. Mogul has said that she “acted consistent with the information provided, the requirements of the law, and Charlotte’s wishes.”
Larry Schwartz, who was one of Mr. Cuomo’s most trusted advisers, briefly served as the state’s vaccine czar. He unexpectedly stepped down in April, following scrutiny over phone calls he made to at least two county executives, in which he discussed vaccines while gauging their support for Mr. Cuomo as he faced calls to resign. The conversations led to accusations of impropriety, which Mr. Schwartz has denied.
Stephanie Benton, a senior aide to Mr. Cuomo, was accused by Ms. Boylan of suggesting that Mr. Cuomo thought she was a “better-looking sister” of another woman. Ms. Benton supervised several of the aides who have accused the governor of harassment, including Ms. Bennett, who told CBS News that she once overheard Ms. Benton tell Mr. Cuomo that she had completed his required sexual harassment training for him.
A lawyer for the governor’s office has denied Ms. Bennett’s assertions, and Ms. Benton has said that her remarks to Ms. Boylan were an attempt at banter.
While much attention has been focused on the state attorney general’s inquiry into the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, it is not the only investigation the governor’s office faces.
In April, the attorney general’s office opened an inquiry into whether Mr. Cuomo had improperly used state resources while he wrote and promoted his book on the pandemic, for which Mr. Cuomo was expected to earn more than $5 million.
The investigation followed reports that some staff members were involved in various steps of readying the memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Mr. Cuomo has said that any work done by government employees on the book was voluntary, although some minor work may have been “incidental.”
The State Assembly is currently conducting a separate and broader impeachment inquiry into Mr. Cuomo that is exploring the sexual harassment accusations and whether Mr. Cuomo improperly used state resources to write his book.
Led by the Judiciary Committee, which hired an outside law firm, the Assembly’s investigation is also looking at the controversy over the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
It also is likely to examine whether the administration covered up potential structural problems on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which connects Rockland and Westchester Counties and which was renamed for Mr. Cuomo’s father.
The nursing home scandal — in which Mr. Cuomo and aides have been accused of deliberately obscuring the full scope of deaths in those facilities — is also the focus of a federal investigation.
The F.B.I. has been examining whether Mr. Cuomo and his aides knowingly provided false data on resident deaths to the Justice Department, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.
Federal prosecutors are also looking into whether the Cuomo administration gave the governor’s family and other influential people special access to rapid coronavirus test results at the start of the pandemic, when tests were scarce.