The Justice Department says former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 13 women

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Andrew Cuomo leaves Il Postino restaurant in Manhattan, New York City on Monday, December 19, 2022.

Gardiner Anderson | New York Daily News | Getty Images

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo subjected at least 13 women to a “sexually hostile work environment” while he was in office, the Justice Department said. He said Friday as part of an agreement with the current state executive office.

The Justice Department said it found that Cuomo “repeatedly subjected these female employees to unwelcome and non-consensual sexual contact, leering, unwelcome sexual comments, name-calling based on gender, comments about their physical appearance, and/or preferential treatment based on their physical appearance.” .

The governor’s office under Cuomo was aware of his behavior but failed to effectively stop it, the Justice Department concluded from an investigation it began in August 2021, the same month Cuomo resigned amid mounting sexual harassment allegations.

Instead, Cuomo’s office worked to protect the then-governor from further accusations — and his senior staff retaliated against four of the women he harassed, the Justice Department said.

Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, said in a statement to CNBC that the former governor “did not sexually harass anyone.”

“The Department of Justice’s investigation was based entirely on the New York State Attorney General’s deeply flawed, inaccurate, biased and misleading report,” Glavin said.

That report, released on August 3, 2021, found that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women and retaliated against at least one former staffer who came forward to accuse him.

“At no time did the Department of Justice contact Governor Cuomo regarding these matters,” Glavin said Friday. He added: “This is nothing more than a political settlement without investigation.”

The Department of Justice revealed its findings when it went public an agreement To resolve its allegations that Cuomo’s office “engaged in a pattern or practice of sexual harassment and retaliation” in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Justice Department said the agreement with the New York State Executive Chamber, currently led by Gov. Kathy Hochul, commemorates reforms it has already implemented and commits the office to enacting additional changes.

The agreement also notes that, “in exchange for” the Executive Chamber entering into the agreement, the Justice Department would refrain from filing a complaint about its allegations.

Hochul said in a statement that when she took office, she “took immediate action” to “root out the culture of harassment that had previously plagued the Executive Room and implement strong policies to promote a safe workplace for all employees.”

“I am pleased that the US Department of Justice has recognized the importance of these efforts, and I look forward to partnering with them as we continue to build on this success,” Hochul said.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi noted to CNBC that the agreement stipulates that it does not include “a finding on the merits of the case.”

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In a separate statement, Azzopardi noted that Brion Pace, the US attorney who signed the agreement, had a conflict of interest because he was the law partner of Joon Kim, who led New York’s 2021 investigation into Cuomo.

“This is not worth the paper it is printed on, and it is ironic that Governor Hoochul, who herself has been accused of committing… Revenge“I signed him,” Azzopardi said.

But Marianne Wang, an attorney for Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limiatis, two women who were allegedly harassed by Cuomo, celebrated the agreement.

“We are pleased that the US Attorney’s Office and the Executive Chamber have taken serious steps to ensure that nothing like the abuses committed by Cuomo will never happen again,” Wang said in a statement.

“We hope these measures will have a real impact and prevent the kind of repeated abuse of power that has caused so much harm to so many women,” Wang said.

This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com

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