New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at an event at his office in New York, on March 18, 2021.
Seth Wenig | AFP | Getty Images
The aide, 33-year-old Alyssa McGrath, told The New York Times that Cuomo had looked down her shirt, commented on her appearance by calling her “beautiful” in Italian and otherwise engaged in flirtatious comments.
McGrath joins more than a half dozen other women, including another current aide and several past Cuomo aides, in accusing the 63-year-old governor of sexual harassment, or of making inappropriate physical contact and comments.
“He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you’re his friend,” McGrath told The Times. “But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation, in your head going, ‘I can’t believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York.'”
The other current aide who has accused Cuomo, who has not been identified, reportedly has told supervisors that he aggressively groped her breast in the governor’s mansion after summoning her there on the pretext of helping him with his mobile phone.
McGrath told The Times that that other woman described the incident to her last week after it was first detailed by The Times Union of Albany.
“She froze when he started doing that stuff to her,” McGrath told The New York Times. “But who are you going to tell?”
McGrath also said that the co-worker had told her that Cuomo asked her not to talk about the incident, having known that she and McGrath routinely spoke and texted each other about interactions with him.
“He told her specifically not to tell me, McGrath said.
Cuomo has denied acting inappropriately toward any women and refused to resign despite calls that he do some from a majority of Democrats in New York’s congressional delegation, and scores of Democrats in the state legislature.
A team of lawyers working under the supervision of state Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the allegation. Another legal team hired by the state Assembly for an impeachment inquiry are eyeing not only the women’s claims, but also a cover up of Covid death data among nursing home resident by Cuomo aides.
Cuomo’s lawyer Rita Glavin told The Times that “the governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehead, or hand.”
“Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like ‘ciao bella,’ ” Glavin said.
“Ciao bella” is Italian for, “Hello, beautiful.”
McGrath’s lawyer Mariann Wang fired back at that claim in a statement to CNBC.
“The governor’s deflections are not credible. This was not just friendly banter,” Wang said.
“Ms. McGrath understands the common phrase ‘ciao Bella.’ As she herself says: ‘I would not call my parents to find out what that phrase means. I know what that phrase means.’ “
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said earlier Friday about Cuomo, “there’s been lot of allegations of misconduct, sexual harassment.”
“The governor has lost the confidence of his governing partners and many New Yorkers. He should step down,” Schumer said.
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