North country legislators react to latest Cuomo accusation

North country legislators react to latest Cuomo accusation
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from July, 2020. (Source: Credit: mpi43/MediaPunch/IPX via AP)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The north country’s representatives in Albany called for an investigation of Governor Cuomo Saturday night, in the wake of accusations from a second former Cuomo aide that he sexually harassed her.

State senator Patty Ritchie, Republican of Heuvelton, joined four other female state senators in urging “Attorney General Letitia James appoint a Special Prosecutor to review all of these recent allegations.”

“Tonight’s New York Times story describes behavior by Governor Cuomo that if true, is disturbing and completely unacceptable for anyone, and especially the top elected official in New York State,” Ritchie and the others wrote.

“His alleged predatory actions are egregious and if the account is accurate, they have crossed the line.”

Will Barclay, the state assemblyman from Pulaski who leads the Republicans in the assembly said in a statement “With additional allegations against Gov. Cuomo coming to light, the response must be clear and decisive.

“A thorough investigation, conducted by an entity completely outside the governor’s reach, must begin immediately.”

And state senator Joe Griffo, who represents part of St. Lawrence County and all of Lewis County, said Cuomo’s pick to conduct an independent investigation of the latest charges, former federal judge Barbara Jones, is “highly respected.”

But, Griffo noted, “a former association with Steve Cohen, former secretary and most recent defender of the Governor, could obfuscate the issue especially when there are bipartisan calls for a true independent investigation.”

Meanwhile, state senator Robert Ortt, who leads Republicans in the state enate, said he would hold a meeting of Republican senators Sunday morning “to discuss these egregious allegations and any next steps that our conference must take.”

Republicans are in the minority in Albany and have little power. That said, they may find temporary allies in the Democratic majority. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the Democratic majority in the state senate, called sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo earlier this week “deeply disturbing.

“Clearly, there is no place for this type of behavior in the workplace or anywhere else,” she said in statement.

And Cuomo critic Alessandra Biaggi, a state senator who once worked with Cuomo, said it’s time for him to resign.

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