Former Cuomo aide who accused gov. of sexual misconduct, reacts to AG's probe results

·3 min read

Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and one of the 11 women accusing him of sexual misconduct, is calling for the governor's immediate impeachment.

"September is not soon enough," Bennett, 25, said Wednesday on "Good Morning America." "This needs to happen now. He's a danger."

On Aug. 3, a monthslong probe by New York State Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former state employees. Following the announcement, Cuomo released a recorded video in which he denied any sexual misconduct and addressed Bennett directly.

"It wasn't an apology and he didn't take accountability for his actions," Bennett said. "He blamed me and said that I simply misinterpreted what he had said."

PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo makes a statement in this screen grab taken from a pre-recorded video released by Office of the NY Governor, in New York, Aug. 3, 2021. (Office Of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo via Reuters)
PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo makes a statement in this screen grab taken from a pre-recorded video released by Office of the NY Governor, in New York, Aug. 3, 2021. (Office Of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo via Reuters)

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In February of this year, Bennett lodged a harassment complaint, saying that the governor asked her inappropriate questions and made her feel uncomfortable.

"His line of questioning was not appropriate," she said. "He was coming onto me and he insinuated that survivors of trauma and sexual assault can't tell the difference between mentorship and leadership and sexual harassment itself — which is not only insulting to me but every survivor who listened to him yesterday."

She added, "The victim blaming is not OK."

After her experience with the governor last year, Bennett said she left her job.

"I was really living in a state of anxiety and panic," she said.

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Bennett's complaint was the second of two sexual misconduct accusations against Cuomo at the time and it sparked the attorney general investigation. The first person to accuse Cuomo, Lindsey Boylan, tweeted her allegations in December 2020.

"I actually DM'ed her on Twitter and we had a private conversation in which I told her what I was experiencing and why I left public service earlier that same year," Bennett said. "And, you know, when there are two women, there are more than two. We know from experience that it's not just one person and that's why we need to believe every woman who makes these allegations."

Bennett believes the information didn't come out sooner because Cuomo has been an "establishment political figure for so long."

"He rules by fear," she said. "He’s scary. I was scared. I didn’t know where to turn. When I was still working in New York state, I vowed to myself to never speak of this — I was horrified in the moment."

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After watching Cuomo's response to the attorney general's findings, Bennett said she felt "overwhelmed but mostly vindicated."

"I had just listened to the New York State attorney general tell me and the 10 other women that we were believed ... that was powerful and so much more important than anything the governor had to say," she said. "It has been a really long road but yesterday was the start to something new and I'm just happy that we had the investigation we deserved."

Bennett is now calling on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to push for Cuomo's impeachment.

"Based on his apology, which was not much of an apology at all yesterday, it seems like he's not living in reality so it's up to us to take action," she said. "It's really the responsibility of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to impeach him immediately."

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As a result of the attorney general's findings, the Albany district attorney has opened up a criminal investigation as well.

Debra Katz, Bennett's attorney, said Bennett has done "a heroic and courageous act of coming forward and cooperating fully with the investigators." Katz echoed Bennett's statement that Cuomo is "not living in reality" and that it's up to the New York legislature to take "decisive action to impeach him."

"His performance yesterday was belligerent and made it clear he is unfit to serve," Katz said on "GMA." "He still does not get it. He still wants to blame the victim."

Former Cuomo aide who accused gov. of sexual misconduct, reacts to AG's probe results originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

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