[Full] Cuomo and sexual harassment allegations made against him

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Sunday said it was asking the state’s attorney general and chief judge to appoint an independent investigator to examine the allegations of sexual harassment made against him.

The announcement came after top Democrats said Cuomo hadn’t gone far enough to ensure the independence of the inquiry into the claims, made separately by two former aides last week. Cuomo denied the allegations but said Saturday he had appointed a federal judge to review them.

“The governor’s office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the governor to be done in a manner beyond reproach,” Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior adviser to Cuomo, said in a statement. “We had selected former federal judge Barbara Jones, with a stellar record for qualifications and integrity, but we want to avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics.”

“Accordingly we have asked the attorney general of New York state and the chief judge of the court of appeals to jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report,” she continued. “The work product will be solely controlled by that independent lawyer personally selected by the attorney general and chief judge.

Garvey added that “all members of the governor’s office will cooperate fully.”

New York Attorney General Tish James said in a separate statement that she stands at the ready to lead an independent probe into Cuomo.

“Allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously,” James said in a statement. “There must be a truly independent investigation to thoroughly review these troubling allegations against the governor, and I stand ready to oversee that investigation and make any appointments necessary.”James’ statement came after a number of prominent Democrats called for an independent investigation of Cuomo following multiple allegations of sexual harassment from former aides.

The calls come after former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, 25, told the New York Times that Cuomo made several inappropriate remarks about her sex life. Cuomo denied the allegations, which NBC News has not independently reported, by saying he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.”

The governor also called for “a full and thorough outside review.” In the same statement, Garvey said former federal Judge Barbara Jones would lead an independent inquiry and that Cuomo’s staff will be ordered to cooperate.

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