New York AG Tells Cuomo to Preserve Records in Sexual Harassment Investigation

Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, will soon choose an outside investigator to lead an inquiry into sexual harassment claims against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Credit…Kathy Willens/Associated Press)

As she closes in on the selection of an outside investigator to examine claims of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the state attorney general has asked members of his administration to safeguard any records germane to the inquiry.

The request was confirmed on Friday by a spokeswoman for the attorney general, Letitia James.

The move to seek the preservation of documents and other potential evidence is standard protocol in investigations, though such inquiries do not typically involve a governor. It underscores the intense scrutiny that has enveloped the Cuomo administration in recent weeks as it battles the sexual harassment claims and a separate controversy over its handling of data related to nursing home deaths linked to the coronavirus.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that senior aides to Mr. Cuomo had rewritten a crucial Health Department report last July, omitting a full count of how many such deaths there had been in the state.

The elision allowed the governor to claim a more successful response to the pandemic, an assertion that now seems in question. The governor’s office has argued that the omission merely involved not including data that had not been adequately confirmed.

On the issue of the sexual harassment allegations, a spokesman for the governor, Richard Azzopardi, said on Friday that the administration had received the request for information earlier this week. “We received this request March 1 and our counsel’s office acted promptly and notified all chamber staff of their obligations associated with that,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat who won national acclaim as a leader amid the pandemic, has seen his public persona tarnished over the past six weeks as a result of a series of troubling revelations and reports about his behavior, both professional and personal.

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SOURCE: New York Times, Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní

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