Vindicated and relieved Cuomo accusers glad he is no longer in power

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Full transcript of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation speech

Women allegedly victimized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they feel “both vindicated and relieved” he finally resigned from his post Tuesday — one week after an investigation by the state attorney general accusing him of sexually harassing at least 11 women sent his once-bright political career into a death spiral.

“My clients feel both vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone,” said Mariann Wang, the attorney for Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, two of the women Attorney General Letitia James said were sexually harassed by Cuomo. 

“His efforts, through his paid attorney, over the last few days, to gaslight and attack the brave women who came forward, apparently served no purpose. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Limmiatis remain grateful that their voices and experiences were heard and substantiated by the AG’s investigators, and feel solidarity with all women who continue to be abused by men in power,” Wang said.

“At least today, one of them has faced some consequences,” she said. 

McGrath, the first current aide to speak out about sexual harassment in Cuomo’s office, claimed he looked down her shirt, quizzed her about her marital status and told her she was beautiful in a series of awkward and increasingly inappropriate interactions. 

Limmiatis, an employee of a private energy company, accused Cuomo of touching her chest during a conservation event in upstate New York in May 2017. Both of the women’s allegations were deemed credible by James. 

During a press conference at his Manhattan office early Tuesday, one week after James’ report was released, Cuomo announced he’d be resigning amid a brewing impeachment in the State Assembly.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be stepping in as governor when the resignation takes effect in 14 days, making her the first woman to ever lead the Empire State. 

“I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside,” Cuomo said during his resignation speech. 

“This is one of the most challenging times for government in a generation… Government really needs to function today, government needs to perform. It is a matter of life and death.”

Shortly after Cuomo announced his resignation, Lindsey Boylan, the first person to publicly accuse him of sexual harassment, wrote on Twitter that she was thankful for the AG’s investigation. 

“From the beginning, I simply asked that the Governor stop his abusive behavior. It became abundantly clear he was unable to do that, instead attacking and blaming victims until the end. It is a tragedy that so many stood by and watched these abuses happen,” Boylan wrote, who claimed the governor kissed her on the lips without warning and once suggested the two play strip poker while aboard a state plane, wrote.

“I am thankful for the attorney general, the investigators and all those who have pursued the truth despite intimidation and threats of retaliation,” the former Cuomo staffer continued. 

“Most importantly, I am in awe of the strength of the other women who risked everything to come forward. My hope always has been that this will make it safer for other women to report their own harassment and abuse. I will continue the fight to make that happen,” she said. 

An attorney for Charlotte Bennett, another former aide who said the governor asked her inappropriate personal questions, told her he was open to relationships with women in their 20s and left her feeling that he “wanted to sleep with” her, released a statement saying Cuomo “had no choice but to resign.” 

“When Lindsey Boylan first publicly accused Governor Cuomo of sexually harassing her, the Governor’s well-oiled political machine worked overtime to discredit her.  Our client, Charlotte Bennett, was not willing to sit idly by while the Governor smeared Lindsey in the press,” attorney Debra Katz wrote in a statement. 

“She knew that Lindsey was telling the truth because the Governor also sexually harassed her.  Charlotte made the courageous decision to detail her own allegations to the public and to share her voluminous documentary evidence with investigators.  Her contemporaneous text messages and emails and her sworn testimony demonstrated incontrovertibly that the Governor sexually harassed her at work,” the statement continued. 

“As is often the case, courage begets courage.  Soon, other women came forward to support Lindsey and Charlotte in the face of the Governor’s continuing denials, even as evidence mounted against him.” 

Katz wrote the legal team is “humbled” by the accusers’ “remarkable courage in coming forward.” 

The state trooper who told James the governor sexually harassed her while she was working on his protective detail, identified in the report only as “Trooper #1,” has tapped high-profile women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred to represent her. 

“She has no plans to do interviews with the press but feels that the governor did the right thing by deciding to resign,” Allred said during a press conference. 

The officer had claimed Cuomo touched her stomach and her back, kissed her on the cheek, asked for her help in finding a girlfriend and asked why she didn’t wear a dress — actions Cuomo apologized for during his resignation speech. 

The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association’s President Thomas Mungeer, who has been commenting on behalf of the trooper, praised her bravery. 

“While the NYSTPBA will not comment on the outgoing governor’s self-serving resignation speech, we commend our Trooper for having the courage to come forward and reveal the sexual harassment that she endured,” Mungeer wrote in a statement. 

“We are looking forward to working with incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul,” he wrote.

The New York State Police Investigators Association, which has also been commenting on the abuse the trooper endured, said Cuomo “made the right decision” one day after they called on him to immediately resign. 

“The Governor has made the right decision as he could no longer effectively lead the state,” the NYSPIA said in an email.

“While we appreciate that he apologized to our fellow trooper, it is unfortunate that it took him so long to do so. We hope that he, other elected officials and everyone can learn from this sad episode in New York’s history,” the statement said.

Karen Hinton, a former aide to Cuomo who was not part of James’ probe but previously revealed he gave her an inappropriate hug in 2000, wrote on Twitter the resignation marked a “sad day.” 

“I’m not celebrating Gov’s resignation but I do celebrate power of women who came forward,” Hinton wrote. 

“Like a Greek tragedy where a hero’s downfall is due 2 his own fatal flaws, Gov soared to dizzying heights & accomplished a great deal for NY-his fall was entirely of his own making,” she said.

The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association’s President Thomas Mungeer, who has been commenting on behalf of the trooper allegedly sexually harassed by Cuomo while working on his protective detail, praised the officer’s bravery. 

“While the NYSTPBA will not comment on the outgoing governor’s self-serving resignation speech, we commend our Trooper for having the courage to come forward and reveal the sexual harassment that she endured,” Mungeer wrote in a statement. Cuomo spent time during his speech directly apologizing to the trooper.

“We are looking forward to working with incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul. We are confident that she will provide the leadership and values that we expect from a chief executive. As always, the men and women who have proudly earned the title of New York State Trooper will continue to serve the people of the state of New York, free from politics.” 

The New York State Police Investigators Association, which has also been commenting on the abuse the trooper endured, said Cuomo “made the right decision” one day after they called on him to immediately resign. 

“The Governor has made the right decision as he could no longer effectively lead the state,” the NYSPIA said in an email.

“While we appreciate that he apologized to our fellow trooper, it is unfortunate that it took him so long to do so. We hope that he, other elected officials and everyone can learn from this sad episode in New York’s history.”

James’ probe revealed Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, including nine current and former staffers, by making inappropriate comments, groping them and retaliating against them when they tried to get it to stop. While some of the victims and their reps were grateful to see that Cuomo stepped down, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-New York) said a resignation was not enough.

“The NY Assembly’s Judiciary Committee & prosecutors must go forward and continue their investigation into all aspects of Cuomo’s multiple scandals: the families of nursing home victims and all sexual harassment victims deserve justice,” Malliotakis wrote on Twitter.

“Resignation alone is not accountability.”

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