A former staffer who accused Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment spoke with investigators on Monday over Zoom for several hours, her attorney said in a statement.
Debra Katz – an attorney for Charlotte Bennett, the 25-year-old former policy adviser to Cuomo – said her client sat with investigators for more than four hours Monday and shared more than 120 pages of contemporaneous records and documents.
“The investigators have been moving quickly, and with sensitivity, to get to the heart of these allegations,” Katz said in a statement. “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.”
Cuomo has been embroiled in scandal for weeks over allegations of sexual harassment and of a cover-up over the number of Covid-19 deaths in the state’s long-term care facilities. Prominent New York Democrats in the state and national governments have called on him to resign, but he has defiantly resisted those calls.
The investigation into the sexual harassment allegations is being led by attorneys Joon Kim, a former prosecutor with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Anne Clark, an employment discrimination attorney. The duo was selected by New York Attorney General Letitia James to lead the probe.
Bennett told The New York Times in February that she had several uncomfortable encounters with Cuomo, including one incident in which he asked her questions about her sex life during a conversation in his state Capitol office and said he was open to relationships with women in their 20s.
Cuomo denied Bennett’s allegations, saying he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”
The former staffer told CBS earlier this month that she thought the governor was trying to sleep with her and she was deeply uncomfortable with questions he asked last June when she was in his office taking dictation.
“I thought, he’s trying to sleep with me. The governor is trying to sleep with me. And I’m deeply uncomfortable and I have to get out of this room as soon as possible,” Bennett told the network in an interview, adding: “Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely.”
Katz said in her statement Monday that Bennett shared with investigators “detailed information” about the “sexually hostile” work environment Cuomo allegedly fostered in the Manhattan and Albany offices, saying that he created “rivalries and tensions 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 said in the statement.
CNN has reached out to Cuomo’s office for comment. He has denied the allegations against him, saying last week, “Women have a right to come forward and be heard. I did not do what has been alleged, period.”
On March 8, after it was announced that Kim and Clark had been selected to head up the investigation, Katz released a statement saying their selection shows that James is taking the investigation seriously, and emphasized she hopes it will not just focus on what Cuomo said and did, but also, on the “culture of secrecy, abuse and fear that he fostered among his staff.”
The New York State Democratic Party also expressed confidence in the investigation on Monday, with its chairman, Jay S. Jacobs, saying in a statement: “These allegations are serious and disturbing and deserve a full and thorough investigation. I have full confidence in the investigation already begun by” James’ office.
Jacobs also urged Democratic officeholders in the state to continue legislating after a slew of them publicly urged Cuomo to resign in recent days.
“It is incumbent upon everyone to focus on getting the work of government done. Over the next two weeks, the state must complete a budget, ramp up its already extensive vaccination program and tend to the many other responsibilities that require the full attention of state government,” his statement read.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Dan Merica, Rob Frehse, Paul LeBlanc and Laura Ly contributed to this report.