Attorney Debra Katz, representing Charlotte Bennett, released the following statement today after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation, effective 14 days from today.
“Today is a solemn day. One week after the Attorney General released a detailed report substantiating 11 women’s allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against Governor Cuomo, he had no choice but to resign.
The Governor’s decision to resign is a testament to the growing power of women’s voices since the beginning of the #MeToo movement. It underscores that sexual harassment is no longer acceptable—no matter what office the harasser holds. When Lindsey Boylan first publicly accused Governor Cuomo of sexually harassing her, the Governor’s well-oiled political machine worked overtime to discredit her. Our client, Charlotte Bennett, was not willing to sit idly by while the Governor smeared Lindsey in the press. She knew that Lindsey was telling the truth because the Governor also sexually harassed her. Charlotte made the courageous decision to detail her own allegations to the public and to share her voluminous documentary evidence with investigators. Her contemporaneous text messages and emails and her sworn testimony demonstrated incontrovertibly that the Governor sexually harassed her at work. As is often the case, courage begets courage. Soon, other women came forward to support Lindsey and Charlotte in the face of the Governor’s continuing denials, even as evidence mounted against him.
We are humbled by Charlotte’s and the other complainants’ remarkable courage in coming forward. They made that extraordinary personal and professional sacrifice because they knew what it was like to have careers derailed and relationships destroyed by a single powerful individual. They knew the pain and indignity of being sexually propositioned and groped. And critically, they wanted to make sure no other women endured the same.
The investigators in this case conducted a comprehensive investigation under intense public scrutiny. They put witnesses at ease to ensure that the public would have the benefit of everyone’s evidence, and they compiled an extremely thorough and detailed report. Their process truly was a model for how high-stakes investigations should proceed. We are deeply appreciative of their unimpeachable work. And we are sickened by the Governor’s baseless attacks against them.
The Governor’s decision to resign is not the end of our reckoning with sexual harassment, but it is an important step in the right direction.”