Gov. Andrew Cuomo had someone else take his mandatory workplace sex harassment training course for him — then signed off on it as if he’d taken it himself, accuser Charlotte Bennett says in a bombshell new interview aired Friday night.
Bennett also claims that one of the governor’s own top aides conceded to her last summer that he had been “grooming” her — but that the matter didn’t need further investigation because Cuomo’s behavior hadn’t gone any further.
The explosive revelations were made by the 25-year-old former Cuomo aide in an interview on “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.”
“At first they apologized, they said it was inappropriate” she said of a June 30 meeting with Cuomo special counsel Judith Mogul and his chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers.
“I asked them if they could let it go, saying, ‘I don’t want this to be investigated please drop this,’ you know, because I was scared.
“She said, ‘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,’” Bennett alleged.
It was not clear if Bennett was referring to Mogul, Desrosiers or someone else at the meeting.
Cuomo had a ringer take his official training for him, Bennett also alleged.
“In 2019, he did not take the sexual harassment training,” Bennett tells O’Donnell in the interview.
“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.
“I’m making a joke about the fact that she was completing the training for him,” Bennett recalls.
“And then I heard her at the end ask him to sign the certificate,” Bennett said.
Bennett’s explosive claim that the governor had an aide complete his sex-harassment training for him directly contradicts what he said on Wednesday.
When asked by a reporter if he had taken the mandatory training, Cuomo simply said, “The short answer is yes.”
Benton, meanwhile, “categorically denies the exchange,” according to a statement from the governor’s office that added, “this is not true,” CBS reported.
Bennett also told CBS that
Also in the interview, Bennett said the governor tasked her with “finding” him a girlfriend — then impatiently asked a day later if she had done so, a revelation teased in previews earlier Friday.
Meanwhile on Friday, Bennett’s lawyer, Debra Katz, sent a letter to state Attorney General Letitia James asking the AG to ensure that evidence related to Bennett’s sexual harassment claims is preserved by the Governor’s office and senior staff.
The urgency of Katz’s request “was heightened by recent new reports that the Governor’s staff modified government reports related to other matters,” the lawyer said in a press statement.
That was an apparent reference to news from Thursday night that Cuomo’s top advisors pushed state health officials to omit from a public report the number of nursing home residents who died in hospitals from COVID-19.