After a plan by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have a retired federal judge review sexual harassment allegations against him drew criticism, Cuomo’s office on Sunday asked that the state’s attorney general and chief appeals court judge appoint an independent attorney to investigate claims. “We will leave all decisions concerning the investigation to be made in the discretion of the independent counsel selected by the Attorney General and Chief Judge,” Cuomo's special counsel, Beth Garvey, said, the Hill reports. However, New York Attorney General Letitia James quickly rejected that plan. “I do not accept the governor’s proposal,” she said, per the AP. “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,” James said, referring to Chief Appeals Court Judge Janet 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.” Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond, according to reports. In an earlier statement, James urged Cuomo to make a formal referral for an investigation—including subpoena power—“immediately,” saying: “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.” Former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan accuses the governor of subjecting her to an unwanted kiss and making inappropriate comments. Another aide, Charlotte Bennett, says Cuomo sexually harassed her. He has denied the allegations. (Read more Andrew Cuomo stories.)