ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR/ WTEN) — UPDATE: Attorney General James has seemingly rejected Governor Cuomo’s proposal of a review led by an independent attorney and requested subpoena powers.
Original: On Sunday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement, calling for a referral from Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate allegations of sexual harassment:
“Allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously. There must be a truly independent investigation to thoroughly review these troubling allegations against the governor, and I stand ready to oversee that investigation and make any appointments necessary. Given state law, this can only be accomplished through an official referral from the governor’s office based on State Law (§ 63-8) and must include subpoena power. I urge the governor to make this referral immediately.”
Many leaders from across the state are issuing statements, as well.
James also released the following subsequent statement calling for a referral from Cuomo to investigate allegations of sexual harassment:
“To clarify, I do not accept the governor’s proposal. The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral. While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.”
Below is the statement the Governor’s office issued on Sunday morning:
“The Governor’s Office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the Governor to be done in a manner beyond reproach. We had selected former Federal Judge Barbara Jones, with a stellar record for qualifications and integrity, but we want to avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics.
“Accordingly we have asked the Attorney General of New York State and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report. The work product will be solely controlled by that independent lawyer personally selected by the Attorney General and Chief Judge.
All members of the Governor’s office will cooperate fully. We will have no further comment until the report is issued.”
STATEMENT FROM BETH GARVEY, SPECIAL COUNSEL AND SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE GOVERNOR