Watch CBS News

U.S. Department of Justice opened civil investigation into sexual harassment claims against Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo AG evidence shows brother's involvement
Chris Cuomo coordinated with Andrew Cuomo's top aide amid sexual harassment claims, documents show 02:21

Albany, New York — The U.S. Department of Justice began a civil inquiry in August into sexual harassment claims made against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York officials disclosed Thursday. The exact nature of the inquiry and its current status were unclear.
The office of Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took office when Cuomo resigned in August, said it hired a law firm in October to handle "matters relating to ongoing investigations inherited from the previous administration," and that one of those matters was an investigation by the Justice Department's civil rights division and the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn.

"As this is an ongoing investigation, we will not comment further at this time," said Hochul's press secretary, Hazel Crampton-Hays.
The law firm's hiring was initially disclosed in a contract made public Thursday as a result of public records requests by several news organizations.
The contract said the firm, Willkie Farr and Gallagher, is representing the governor's office in several investigations related to the previous administration, including a Justice Department inquiry "related to sexual harassment claims made against the then-governor."

Transcripts released in Cuomo harassment investigation 02:21

Cuomo announced he would resign August 10, one week after an investigative report commissioned by New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded he had sexually harassed 11 women. His last day in office was Aug. 23.
Cuomo's spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, said the former governor had been made aware of the inquiry.
"Our understanding is that the civil division opened an inquiry in August based upon the AG's politically motivated sham report and we have heard nothing since," he said.
Justice Department spokespeople declined to comment.

Sex crime complaint filed against Andrew Cuomo 02:04

The department's civil rights division has some enforcement powers under federal anti-discrimination law. It launched an initiative in 2018 to fight sexual harassment of government employees and handles complaints made under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Cuomo has acknowledged making comments to some women that made them uncomfortable, including jokes interpreted as unwanted flirtation, but he has denied sexually harassing anyone or touching anyone inappropriately.
The Albany County sheriff filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo this fall accusing him of groping a female aide at the governor's mansion in late 2020. His arraignment on the charge has been postponed until at least January while the county district attorney investigates the allegations.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.