New York governor under fire, sexual harassment allegations

Charlotte Bennett, 25, the former aide who accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, said that his explanation and attempt to apologize were not acceptable.
3:31 | 03/02/21

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Transcript for New York governor under fire, sexual harassment allegations
New York governor Andrew Cuomo under fire and under investigation tonight, facing accusations of sexual harassment. His newest accuser saying Cuomo, quote, refuses to take responsibility. The governor, praised for his leadership when covid hit, is also now facing grows questions about the data on nursing home deaths, now hiring a lawyer to represent the governor's office. Here's ABC's Stephanie Ramos tonight. Reporter: Tonight, a former aide accusing New York governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment says his explanation and attempt to apologize just doesn't cut it, declaring Cuomo "Has refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior." 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett telling her story to "The new York Times," alleging that last spring, Cuomo made it clear to her he wanted to sleep with her. She alleges that the governor asked her direct questions about her sex life, whether or not she was monogamous in her relationships, whether or not she had ever slept with an older man. Reporter: At the same time, Cuomo's national profile was soaring from his handling of the covid crisis. We will do it because we are New York tough. Reporter: Bennett says she told her parents and friends about Cuomo's behavior at the time. She also told the governor's chief of staff and was quickly transferred to another department, eventually leaving the administration altogether in November. Cuomo has denied he made any advances, initially saying he was just trying to be a mentor. Then releasing a statement saying, "I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that." That's not an apology. He seemed to be saying, "Oh, I was just kidding around." You know, sexual harassment is not funny. Reporter: In recent years, Cuomo has positioned himself as a champion for women. There has been an ongoing persistent culture of abuse of women in terms of sexual harass pt. Reporter: But Bennett is now the second woman to accuse him of sexual harassment. Another former staffer Lindsey Boylan said Cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss in his Manhattan office in 2018 and asked to play strip poker. He's denied that. But it's -- it's just not true. Reporter: The New York state attorney general is now launching an investigation. Cuomo had hoped to appoint an investigator with close ties to his top advisers, but he backed down amid an outcry from Democrats. Charlotte Bennett saying, "These are not the actions of someone who simply feels misunderstood. They are the actions of an individual who wields his power to avoid justice." And Stephanie Ramos with us tonight. Stephanie, in addition, governor Cuomo is battling an investigation into how his administration handled covid deaths in nursing home dates here in New York. And they're now hiring their own criminal defense attorney for that? Reporter: Exactly, David. And the governor himself has been largely out of sight. Governor Cuomo had been holding press conferences three times per week, but we haven't seen him since last Wednesday, when his first accuser elaborated on her claims. We've noticed here on the ground, David, that Democrats aren't really rallying around the governor. State lawmakers not coming to his defense, saying they are waiting on the attorney general's investigation. David? Stephanie Ramos in Albany tonight. Meantime, on capitol hill

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