A former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan will help lead the independent investigation into allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed female aides, state Attorney General Letitia James said Monday.
Joon Kim — who closed out the probe of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign-finance scandal — and veteran employment-discrimination lawyer Anne Clark will head the team with support from other lawyers from their respective law firms, James said.
James called Kim and Clark “independent, legal experts who have decades of experience conducting investigations and fighting to uphold the rule of law.”
“There is no question that they both have the knowledge and background necessary to lead this investigation and provide New Yorkers with the answers they deserve,” she added.
The lawyer for ex-Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, 25 — who has accused the 63-year-old governor of asking probing questions about her sex life and “trying to sleep with me” — said that hiring Kim and Clark showed James “is taking this matter very seriously.”
“We are encouraged by the experience and background of the attorneys who will be investigating Charlotte’s claims and expect the investigation will extend to the claims of the other women who we know to be out there,” lawyer Debra Katz said.
“It is important that this investigation isn’t just centered around what Governor Cuomo said and did. It must also focus on the culture of secrecy, abuse and fear that he fostered among his staff—frequently in violation of the very laws he signed to protect workers from sexual harassment.”
Katz added: “We look forward to cooperating with the investigators.”
Cuomo last week pledged to cooperate with the probe and urged New Yorkers, “Wait for the facts before you form an opinion.”
Kim served as acting Manhattan US attorney after predecessor Preet Bharara was fired in 2017.
Kim also took over the investigation of pay-to-play allegations involving fundraising by and on behalf of de Blasio, his since-shuttered Campaign for One New York non-profit organization and a failed, 2014 effort to help Democrats win control of the state Senate.
In a statement issued at the conclusion of that probe, Kim cited “several circumstances” in which de Blasio “made or directed inquiries to relevant City agencies on behalf of” donors seeking official favors from the city.
But Kim said he decided not to bring any charges due to the difficulty of proving “criminal intent in corruption schemes where there is no evidence of personal profit.”