As expected, NY Attorney General Letitia James - widely seen as Gov. Andrew Cuomo's biggest political rival - has appointed two lawyers to lead an official investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct levied at Cuomo by three women.
Shortly after lawmakers drafted an impeachment resolution that could open the door to Cuomo becoming the second governor in NY state history to be impeached by the legislature, James announced via twitter that US Attorney Joon Kim (a former top federal prosecutor) and Anne Clark, an experienced employment discrimination attorney, will lead what's expected to be a closely-watched investigation.
My office has appointed former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne L. Clark to lead our investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo.— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) March 8, 2021
They are both independent, legal experts with decades of experience.— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) March 8, 2021
There is no question they have the knowledge and background necessary to lead this investigation and provide New Yorkers with the answers they deserve.
At least three former staffers, and five women overall, have come forward to accuse Cuomo of a range of sexual improprieties, ranging from sexual banter (he allegedly asked one woman in her early 20s if she liked to have sex with older men) to inappropriate touching (by now, we've all seen that awkward kiss photo).
According to WSJ, Kim is now a partner at firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton who also served as acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York between March 2017 and January 2018, after former US Attorney Preet Bharara was fired from his position by former President Donald Trump.
Though he wasn't there for long, during his time leading what's widely seen as one of the most important prosecutors' offices in the country, Kim oversaw the trial and conviction of Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters. Walters was found guilty of insider trading and sentenced to five years in prison. Clark is a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark. A lawyer from her firm and two from Cleary Gottlieb are expected to assist with the investigation, according to the AG's office.
Clark doesn't have the reputational clout that Kim does, but as NBC News reports, she has decades - more than 30 years - of experience fighting cases involving harassment by powerful figures. She even once represented a client who took on a powerful New Jersey politician. Clark focuses on employment law issues on behalf of workers, and has represented a number of clients in sexual harassment and other employment discrimination cases. In the sexual harrasment lawsuit mentioned above, Clark represented a woman who sued former New Jersey state Assembly Speaker Garabed "Chuck" Haytaian, accusing him of repeatedly kissing and groping her against her wishes while she worked for the Assembly in the mid-1990s. Haytaian denied the allegations. The state eventually paid the woman $175" to settle the case. Haytaian, who also led the Garden State's Republican Party for a time, later retired from political life.
But that's not the only Cuomo-related news to hit Monday evening. As the sexual harassment scandal - once viewed as a distraction from the uproar over Cuomo's underreporting (some might say "attempted coverup") of widespread nursing home deaths caused by COVID (and enabled by an idiotic policy requiring nursing homes to re-admit COVID positive patients) - balloons, Crown Publishing Group - Cuomo's publisher - has paused promotion of his book. Additionally, the New York Post reports that Crown Publishing Group has no intention of reprinting or reissuing Cuomo's tome "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic," which was released in October.
The Brooklyn-based US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York opened an investigation into the Cuomo Admininstration's handling of nursing homes and reporting of nursing deaths amid the pandemic, now that Cuomo has essentially admitted to the underreporting, though he tried to play it off as an oversight.