Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s calls for due process amid his sexual harassment scandal set a double standard given his history of demanding other embattled figures resign their posts without waiting for the results of a full investigation, critics said Monday.
A defiant Cuomo on Sunday vowed that there was “no way” he’d resign with five women now publicly accusing him of sexual harassment, calling the idea of resigning ahead of the results of an independent probe by state Attorney General Letitia James “anti-democratic.”
But in 2018, Cuomo was quick to call on then-AG Eric Schneiderman, hit with bombshell sexual harassment and abuse allegations, to resign without the results of a formal inquiry.
“No one is above the law, including New York’s top legal officer,” Cuomo, who previously served as attorney general, said in a statement at the time.
“My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as Attorney General, and for the good of the office, he should resign.”
Schneiderman resigned literally moments after Cuomo issued the statement.
State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, who has called for Cuomo to resign said Cuomo’s message reeked of a double-standard.
“All of a sudden Cuomo is concerned about due process,” said Abinanti (D-Nanuet). “He preached zero tolerance for others. He didn’t give Eric Schneiderman due process. He said Eric Schneiderman should resign for the good of the state.
“We’re taking the same position the governor took in regards to Eric Schneiderman,” he continued. “He should resign for the good of the state.”
Abinanti noted that disgraced ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer immediately resigned after being caught in a prostitution scandal.
The Post also recently reported that Cuomo didn’t wait for “due process” probes when he called on three Assembly members who faced harassment allegations to resign.
Assemblyman Ron Kim — who too has demanded Cuomo’s resignation, after also previously calling for his impeachment in connection to the separate scandal surrounding his administration’s accounting of the coronavirus death toll among nursing home residents — echoed the sentiment.
“Cuomo is is not only practicing a double standard but breaking laws he signed into law such as automatic investigations of sexual harassment claims,” said Kim. “Cuomo acts like he is above the law as he continues to abuse his powers.”
Rita Pasarell, of the Sexual Harassment Working Group accused Cuomo of “yet again asking for special treatment, and his transparent attempts to prolong the process are desperate.”
Pasarell, who faced harassment when she worked for the late Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, said James’ probe of the governor can continue “even after Cuomo’s inevitable removal from office.
“It’s offensive that he suggests that he must remain in power in order for New York’s first Black and first woman AG to complete her investigation,” said Pasarell. “As a group that works for protections against discrimination and harassment, we take this very seriously. He is too compromised to serve.”
Five women have now accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in recent weeks: Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett, Anna Ruch, Ana Liss and Karen Hinton.
Each of the women worked for Cuomo at some point, except Ruch.
Cuomo has apologized “if [his accusers] were offended” by untoward remarks, but denied allegations of inappropriate physical contact, as alleged by all of the women except Bennett.