The identity of the young Capitol employee who, last month, became the first woman to accuse Cuomo of groping her - after the governor insisted during a press conference that he never touched any woman without consent - still hasn't been revealed. But on Wednesday, the Albany Times-Union published a lengthy account of the moment in November when the alleged grope took place.
We already knew that Cuomo had summoned the young woman from the Capitol to the Executive Mansion - the governor's official residence - where he allegedly proceeded to grope her, fondling her breast above her bra after reaching under her blouse, after luring her to the residence with a request to help the governor with his phone.
Now, it appears the young woman - who is still working at the Capitol, despite enduring "dirty looks" and a paucity of assignments - and who has struggled with mental health issues and rapid weight loss while also being a young mother, has decided to share more details of the encounter with the Albany Times-Union. Here are some of the highlights.
- On that day in late November, the woman was summoned to Cuomo's second-floor office at the residence, where the governor closed the door and reached under her blouse: "He pulled me close, and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand," the woman said in the interview. Moments later, the governor grasped one of her breasts over her bra, leaving her "so confused and so taken aback."
- The groping was the culmination of months of "grooming", the woman said, as she believed Cuomo had attempted to groom her for a sexual relationship via the "gradual escalation" of comments and contact: “Sometimes he would pull my whole body close to him. I remember purposely, like, taking my pelvis and pulling away,” she told The Times Union, adding, “I knew what he was doing.”
- While the woman was taking the photo of herself and the governor, he rubbed her buttock, she told The Times Union. "That was the first blatant move," she said
- Cuomo had apparently told the woman not to tell anyone about the groping. "Near the end of it, he looked up at me and he said, 'You know, by the way, you know people talk in the office, and you can never tell anyone about anything we talk about or, you know, anything, right?'" the woman told The Times Union. "I said, 'I understand.’ He said, ‘Well, you know, I could get in big trouble, you know that.' I said, 'I understand, governor.' And he said, 'OK.'"
- Mariann Wang, a lawyer for Ms. McGrath, said the Times Union report was "consistent with my client’s observations and experience working for the governor."
- "The governor’s behavior is that of a classic bully and predator: Groom, manipulate, slowly move the boundaries, then threaten and punish if anyone dares push back," Ms. Wang said.
At this point, it looks like Cuomo will succeed in running out the clock on the second half of his third term in the governor's mansion as an effort to impeach him has seemingly stalled as lawmakers wait for the conclusions of an investigation that could take months. He and his staff are also facing probes from the NY AG's office, as well as the FBI, which have been sniffing around to see if Cuomo or his staff broke any federal laws by underreporting COVID deaths.
While the world waits for a progressive challenger to emerge and challenge Cuomo from the left, Republicans in the state - who haven't held the governor ship since George Pataki defeated Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, back in the 1990s - Lee Zeldin, a Republican Rep. from Long Island who has a solid national profile, has decided to throw his hat into the ring.
On Thursday morning, Zeldin became the first Republican to officially launch a challenge against Cuomo. Zeldin, a staunch ally of former President Trump and a four-term lawmaker who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District in LI's Suffolk County, made the announcement during an appearance on "Fox & Friends."
We doubt he will be the last contender to come forward, as the three-term governor - who has faced down primary challenges from progressive academics and an actor known for playing "Miranda" on "Sex and the City" - mulls whether he will even bother seeking term four.
Thu, 04/08/2021 - 11:55