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Exclusive: Debra Katz, Attorney For Cuomo Accuser Charlotte Bennett, Accuses Governor Of Witness Intimidation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The attorney representing one of the women accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment claims he is trying to intimidate witnesses.

In an exclusive interview with CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer, she says the increasing number of women coming forward indicates the governor needs psychiatric counseling.

A "We Support Cuomo" banner flew over the Hudson river as the governor, once again, sought support from members of the African-American community with a vaccine event at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. But Debra Katz, the attorney for Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett says the kind of support the governor needs can only come from visiting a shrink.

Web Extra: Read Katz's Letter To AG James (.pdf)

"Yes. He needs counseling. If he cannot understand how damaging his behavior has been to these women, he certainly needs counseling," Katz said.

Katz pointed out that, so far, eight women have publicly come forward to charge the governor with sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.

"Look at who his victims have been. Women in their 20s and 30s who came to government service with a great deal of optimism and desire to serve. And he chewed them up and spit them out," Katz said.

Watch: Extended Interview With Debra Katz, Attorney For Cuomo Accuser Charlotte Bennett

Katz sent a letter to Attorney General Letitia James questioning the governor's decision to conduct a "parallel review" of the charges made by a woman who said he groped her at the executive mansion. She also questioned the governor's decision to provide legal counsel to staffers making complaints against him.

TIMELINE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Under Investigation For Nursing Home Deaths, Sexual Harassment Allegations

"What the governor is doing is classic witness intimidation," she said. "To know what witnesses are telling investigators after their interviews or asking to come along is clearly designed to to chill people's willingness to speak to investigators."

Beth Garvey, the governor's acting counsel, said the attorney general was informed of the parallel review and defended the decision to hire lawyers to represent staff.

"Employees have been advised that, if they want to be represented by a lawyer in this matter, they may choose private counsel or the outside counsel that is representing the Chamber." Garvey said

In Mount Vernon, the governor inaugurated a "roll up your sleeves" program to get churches, synagogues and mosques to serve as  vaccination centers.

His words were about COVID, but they also could've been about the predicament he finds himself in.

"Life sometimes will knock you on your rear end," Cuomo said. "The question is, who gets up and who gets up smarter for the experience and who gets up learning from the experience," he said.

The governor took a handful of reporter questions for the first time in several days, but he refused to speak about the ongoing investigations.


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