The attorney of one of the women who has accused NY Governor
Charlotte Bennett, 25, said in an interview on ‘
Bennett, who alleges the governor came on to her not physically but with inappropriate comments in his Albany office this summer, said she was ‘terrified’ but was assured that there was no need for an investigation as Cuomo was only guilty of ‘grooming’ not sexual harrassment.
‘What they should have said is we have a legal duty to investigate,’ her attorney Debra Katz argued when also speaking to O’Donnell on Friday.
Scroll down for video
Charlotte Bennett, 25, gave an interview to CBS News on Friday night (as pictured above) in which she claims she was told her complaints against Gov. Andrew Cuomo amounted to grooming and not harassment and so did not need to be investigated
Bennett’s attorney Debra Katz (pictured above) has now hit out and said that there was definitely a need for a probe into Cuomo’s actions at that point
Charlotte Bennett, 25, worked as a health policy adviser in Cuomo’s administration
‘The law he signed himself makes clear that sexual harassment includes creating conditions that make someone feel uncomfortable because you’re sexually propositioning them.’
Katz was referencing a law the governor signed in 2019 that makes it easier to prove sexual harassment.
Bennett claimed in the CBS interview that she reported her claims to Cuomo’s aides a week after his alleged advances took place.
‘I sat down and pretty quickly just said, “I love working here. I love you guys. But the governor crossed a line with me last week”,’ Bennett said.
‘And she asked me what I was referring to. And I said, ‘He said he was lonely, he said he wanted a girlfriend. He asked me if I had slept with older men. He said he was willing to sleep with younger women.’ And at that point, that was enough for her. And she was just, like, ‘What can we do here?”
‘At first they apologized, they said it was inappropriate,’ Bennett told CBS of a June 30 meeting with Cuomo’s Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers and his special counsel Judith Mogul.
Bennett claims she told them: ‘I don’t want this to be investigated, please drop this because I was scared.’
In response, the 25-year-old alleges she was told: ‘You came to us before anything serious happened, it was just grooming and it was not yet considered sexual harassment so for that we do not need to investigate’.
It was not clear if Bennett was referring to Mogul, DesRosiers, or another person in the room.
Mogul has since hit back at Bennett’s claim in a statement to the
‘As the documents will reflect, I acted consistent with the information provided, the requirements of the law and Charlotte’s wishes,’ she said.
Later in the CBS interview, Bennett claims the governor had someone else take his mandatory workplace sexual harassment training for him but that the governor signed off on the training as if he had done it.
‘In 2019, he did not take the sexual harassment training,’ the 25-year-old claims.
‘How do you know that?’ O’Donnell asks.
‘I was there,’ Bennett, who worked for him at the time, answers.
‘I heard Stephanie, say, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this for you,” Bennett recalls –referring to office director Stephanie Benton.
‘And then I heard her at the end ask him to sign the certificate,’ Bennett said.
Bennett, pictured at work, told Cuomo’s team about her incidents with him
Later in the interview, Bennett claims the governor had someone else take his mandatory workplace sexual harassment training for him but that the governor signed off on the training
Her claim contradicts Cuomo, who replied ‘the short answer is yes’ when he was asked Wednesday whether he had taken the mandatory training.
Stephanie Benton, Cuomo’s office director, ‘categorically denies the exchange’ as well, claiming in a statement to CBS ‘this is not true’.
Bennett was the second woman to come forward with allegations against Cuomo, after former employee Lindsey Boylan, 36, alleged the governor invited her to play strip poker and once kissed her on the lips.
The 25-year-old, who worked as a health policy adviser, claims Cuomo sexually harassed her in 2020.
She says the governor asked personal questions about her sex life and told her he was open to dating ‘anyone above the age of 22.’
Cuomo has denied ever ‘touching anyone’ inappropriately but apologized for making people ‘uncomfortable’ with his conduct.
The reputation of the governor – who last year won an Emmy for his COVID-19 press briefings – is rapidly unraveling amid both the bombshell claims from the three female accusers and the ongoing
When asked what she would like to see from the governor on Friday, Bennett responded that she thinks ‘he should start telling the truth’.
‘I’m really confident in this investigation but if this investigation finds that he has conducted himself in this year – which he absolutely has because I have evidence – he should step down,’ Bennett added.
On Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a notice to Cuomo ordering him to preserve all records relevant to her sexual harassment investigation into him as one accuser branded the governor ‘a textbook abuser’.
James’ office confirmed Friday a preservation request was sent to the office of the embattled governor this week to keep all records, files and electronic communications pertaining to the allegations.
Cuomo’s Senior Adviser Rich Azzopardi confirmed Friday the governor’s office received James’ preservation request Monday and was complying fully with it.
‘We received this request March 1 and our counsel’s office acted promptly and notified all chamber staff of their obligations associated with that,’ he tweeted.