Ocasio-Cortez, other NY leaders join calls for Cuomo's resignation

(Reuters) – Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jerry Nadler and several other New York political leaders on Friday joined calls for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him in recent weeks.

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The statements by 14 U.S. representatives came a day after the New York state legislature announced it would review accusations made by six women against Cuomo. They cast an ominous shadow over the political future of the Democratic governor, who gained national prominence for his leadership during the peak of his state’s COVID-19 crisis.

Cuomo, 63, has denied all allegations by the women, most of whom are former aides. He has said he never touched anyone inappropriately and has apologized if his behavior ever made people feel uncomfortable.

In a call with reporters on Friday, Cuomo doubled down on his denial and said politicians’ calls for him to resign before they have all the facts were “reckless and dangerous.”

“Women have a right to come forward and be heard, and I encourage that fully. But I also want to be clear: there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged, period,” he said.

Cuomo’s most recent accuser is an unidentified aide who told The Times-Union newspaper on Tuesday that he had groped her after calling her to the executive mansion last year under the pretext of business.

“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo,” Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, a congressman from New York, said in a statement on Friday.

“The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration’s staff. These allegations have all been consistent and highly-detailed, and there are also credible media reports substantiating their accounts.”

At least 15 of the 27 members of New York’s U.S. congressional delegation have called on Cuomo to step down. A House aide told Reuters there was no formal, coordinated effort within the delegation, which includes 19 Democrats, to pressure Cuomo.

Cuomo has said he will not resign, and he has asked the public to await the results of an ongoing investigation led by the state Attorney General Letitia James’ office before making judgment.

On Thursday, more than 55 Democratic New York legislators signed a letter calling for Cuomo’s resignation.

“Unfortunately what we’re seeing here is a pattern of cover up, a pattern of lies. It is unacceptable, the governor must resign,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a longtime political rival, told reporters on Friday. “He can no longer do the job.”

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