Alysa McGrath, a current aide to Andrew Cuomo, has joined the growing list of women accusing the New York governor of alleged sexual harassment and misconduct.
This Friday, March 19, in an interview for The New York Times McGrath, accused Cuomo of “ogling her body,” commenting on her appearance and making flirtatious remarks to her and another woman in his office.
McGrath is the first aide still working for the governor whom she publicly denounces for a series of alleged inappropriate behaviors.
According to the aide, the governor went so far as to ask her about the absence of a wedding ring, about her divorce, and even told her in Italian that “she was beautiful.” McGrath did not accuse Cuomo of sexual contact, but said that, in her opinion, the governor’s actions as a whole amount to sexual harassment.
New York’s top authority has persistently rejected the allegations, and this Friday one of his lawyers, Rita Galvin, responded to McGrath’s allegations by saying that “The governor has greeted men and women with hugs and kisses on the cheek, forehead or hand,” but asserted that it is not sexual harassment.
“Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like ‘ciao, bella,'” said Galvin, who added that “none of this is exceptional, even though it may be old-fashioned.”
The sexual harassment allegations have led a long list of fellow Democrats to turn their backs on him and demand his resignation; while that happens and the Legislature begins investigations as a preliminary step to impeachment, New York Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating on her own.
In addition to McGrath, seven other women, (some of them also Cuomo’s aides), have accused him of sexual misconduct and unwanted touching.
These allegations began weeks ago when Lindsey Boylan, who worked as an aide to Cuomo, published a letter in which she recounted how “intimidation” within his administration was “so pervasive” that it was “tolerated” and “expected.”
Cuomo: Closer to impeachment
The New York Assembly, which had already announced the initiation of an investigation of Cuomo, hired the law firm “Davis Polk & Wardwell” to conduct the independent inquiry that would lead to an impeachment trial for the allegations of sexual harassment.
It is unknown whether the legislature will also investigate the governor for knowingly concealing the number of deaths in nursing homes, and whether it will also inquire into alleged intimidation calls made by the administration against county officials and executives.
Under the New York Constitution, impeaching Cuomo would require a simple majority vote of the 150-member state Assembly, which includes 106 Democrats, 43 Republicans and one independent.
A majority of Assemblymembers expressed support for ending Cuomo’s term in office. In fact, a total of 43 Democrats had called for the governor to resign; they, along with 43 House Republicans, total 86, which is 10 more than what is required to impeach the governor.
The impeachment process would be conducted in the same manner as the impeachment trial of former President Trump. After a vote in the Assembly, it would move to the state Senate with the state’s top judges charged with deliberating and issuing a ruling.
However, unlike the federal process, there is no “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard, so the governor could be impeached for any reason lawmakers deem necessary.