NEW YORK — Urging New Yorkers not to dismiss Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s record after three women accused the governor of unwanted advances, State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs on Tuesday said people need to wait on judging the allegations until after an independent investigation is completed and criticized Democrats who are calling on Cuomo to resign.
Some New York Democrats, including Long Island Rep. Kathleen Rice, have urged the governor to resign in the wake of the accusations of inappropriate behavior against Cuomo.
Anna Ruch, the latest accuser, told The New York Times she felt uncomfortable and embarrassed when the governor tried to kiss her at a wedding reception in New York City in 2019. A photo of them in the Times story shows the governor holding her face in his hands.
Jacobs said the allegations need to be taken seriously, but spent most of a Tuesday night interview on Inside City Hall defending the governor and saying people shouldn’t prejudge the allegations before an investigator picked by State Attorney General Letitia James completes a probe.
“You don’t call for an independent investigation, get an independent investigation, and then choose to ignore an independent investigation before it even begins. That just doesn’t make sense,” Jacobs told NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis.
“It’s not fair in terms of process, it’s not a good precedent to set for the future. And I don’t think it’s fair to the governor, and it’s certainly not fair to those who make the allegations. You have to be fair to the whole process. So I just urge everyone to be patient.”
Asked how the governor is handling the accusations, Jacobs said: “I think that he feels that when the investigation is completed, there’s going to be a different view of the matter.”
Jacobs declined to say if he thought Cuomo should resign if the allegations are proven true, saying he doesn’t want to prejudge anything.
“Let’s remember: you don’t wipe out in one fell swoop the achievements of someone who’s done a lot of good as well,” Jacobs said.
Some critics have argued the sexual harassment allegations are the product of a culture of secrecy and abuse of power in the state government, with some lawmakers in recent weeks saying they have seen or heard that the governor’s office is an abusive and toxic environment rife with bullying.
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Jacobs downplayed claims of bullying in Albany, chalking it up to “hardball” politics.
“I think they play hardball up in Albany, there’s no question about it. I’ve been the recipient of some of that myself at times. And you have to have a thick skin to work up there,” Jacobs said. “There’s this misconception that producing good government results is going to be nice, or sweet, or easy — it’s not.”
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Watch the full interview above.
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