January 27, 2024
By Eden Villalovas
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) blasted former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and “his deranged sycophant enforcers” for trying to “rewrite their heinous legacy of lies” after the Justice Department concluded he sexually harassed state employees.
“While Cuomo and his deranged sycophant enforcers are desperately trying to resurrect and rewrite their heinous legacy of lies, innocent lives lost, and rampant abuse, even the DOJ confirms that Andrew Cuomo is a corrupt criminal who illegally harassed women and retaliated against them while Governor,” Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said in a statement on Friday.
Stefanik and Cuomo’s administration began publicly feuding after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Stefanik and then aide to Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, reportedly had a friendship spanning two decades, but the former governor’s response to COVID-19 and Stefanik’s loyalty to Trump reportedly created tension.
The DOJ reached an agreement with the New York state executive chamber, confirming sexual assault allegations that resulted in Cuomo’s resignation in August 2021. The report found the former governor “subjected female employees to a hostile work environment” and “retaliated against employees who spoke out about the harassment.” The DOJ said the Executive Chamber was aware of the problem but failed to “remediate the harassment on a systemic level.”
According to the DOJ, Cuomo’s misconduct “subjected at least thirteen female employees of New York State, including Executive Chamber employees, to a sexually hostile work environment,” which included “unwelcome, non-consensual sexual contact; ogling; unwelcome sexual comments; gender-based nicknames; comments on their physical appearances; and/or preferential treatment based on their physical appearances.”
Cuomo has denied the allegations since his resignation after New York Attorney General Letitia James‘s investigation found he sexually harassed 11 women, including employees in his office, and found his Executive Chamber’s retaliation of the women who came forward violated state and federal laws. Cuomo filed an ethics complaint against James in September 2022, accusing the attorney general of mishandling her investigation of allegations of sexual harassment. Last week, Cuomo filed another complaint against James, requesting dozens of witness statements from her probe into him.