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Cuomo Accuser’s Lawyer Says the Governor Made a Point to Say He Has Large ‘Hands’


NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control.

You know what they say about men with big hands, and apparently so does New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). An attorney for Charlotte Bennett said Monday afternoon that her client met on Zoom for four hours with attorneys who were appointed by the New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) to investigate now-numerous sexual harassment claims against the governor. According to Debra Katz, a piece of “new information” that emerged from the hours-long meet was that the governor is preoccupied with the “large size of his hands” and what this suggests about him sexually.

“Today, Charlotte Bennett met with investigators via Zoom for more than four hours. She detailed her allegations of sexual harassment and provided the investigators with more than 120 pages of contemporaneous records, as well as other examples of documentary evidence, to corroborate her accusations against Gov. Cuomo and his senior staff,” the statement from Katz began. “The investigators have been moving quickly, and with sensitivity, to get to the heart of these allegations. We remain confident that their investigation will substantiate Charlotte’s claims of sexual harassment against Gov. Cuomo, as well as the failure of his senior staff to meet their mandatory reporting requirements under the very laws he signed.”

“[Bennett] also provided detailed information about the sexually hostile work environment the Governor fostered in both his Manhattan and Albany offices and his deliberate effort to create rivalries and tension among female staffers on whom he bestowed attention. One piece of new information that came to light today was the Governor’s preoccupation with his hand size and what the large size of his hands indicated to Charlotte and other members of his staff,” Katz continued. “As we have said before, it is imperative that this investigation not only focus on Gov. Cuomo’s actions, but also on the culture of fear, abuse and secrecy that he and his most senior staff cultivated. To that end, we have full confidence in the investigation and the investigators. We urge others who have been subjected to inappropriate conduct by the Governor – and we know you are out there – to come forward with what you experienced. And to those who observed the behavior, we urge you to do the same.”

A week ago, AG James announced that former acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Joon H. Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne L. Clark would oversee an independent investigation of the sexual harassment and misconduct claims made against Cuomo.

Those claims have now been made by former Cuomo aides Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett, Ana LissKaren Hinton and an unidentified woman. The latter claimed Cuomo aggressively groped her. Anna Ruch also accused Cuomo of making an unwanted advance at a wedding, though she had never met him prior to that encounter. Former Albany statehouse reporter Jessica Bakeman has also accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her.

Bakeman even wrote in New York Magazine about Cuomo holding her hand and “refus[ing] to let go.”

In fact, the first three words of her article from three days ago were “Andrew Cuomo’s hands.”

“Andrew Cuomo’s hands had been on my body — on my arms, my shoulders, the small of my back, my waist — often enough by late 2014 that I didn’t want to go to the holiday party he was hosting for the Albany press corps at the executive mansion,” Bakeman wrote.

Cuomo has said he will not resign and has urged the public to withhold passing judgment until the NYAG-appointed investigation concludes and releases a report on investigative findings. He suggested last Friday that those who are rushing to judgment, particularly politicians within his own party who demanded his resignation and/or impeachment, are trying to cancel him.

Cuomo has not denied that he made women staffers uncomfortable with his behavior in the workplace. Instead, he apologized for what he said was a misunderstanding of his intent and apologized if he had caused anyone pain. He said the allegation that he groped an aide in a sexually charged manner “is just not true.” He said he never touched anyone inappropriately and that he has “not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate.”

Charlotte Bennett said in a CBS interview on March 4 that it was clear to her that Cuomo wanted to have sex with her.

“I thought he’s trying to sleep with me. The governor is trying to sleep with me, and I am deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,” Bennett said.

Bennett told the New York Times in an interview from late February that Cuomo asked her if she “had ever been with an older man.” She also said that Cuomo looked directly at her and repeatedly said she is a sexual assault survivor.

“The way he was repeating, ‘You were raped and abused and attacked and assaulted and betrayed,’ over and over again while looking me directly in the eyes was something out of a horror movie,” Bennett said. “It was like he was testing me.”

[Image via Jeenah Moon/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.