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Cuomo accuser plans to file lawsuit against embattled governor: Lawyer

ABC News logo ABC News 8/5/2021
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The first woman to publicly accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment plans to sue him for allegedly retaliating against her after she came forward.

Lindsey Boylan, who formerly worked as an aide to the governor, spoke out in December in a series of tweets claiming Cuomo "sexually harassed me for years."

"Our plan is to sue the governor and his and his coconspirators," Boylan's attorney, Jill Basinger, told ABC News' "Good Morning America," citing the retaliatory actions outlined in the New York attorney general's scathing report published Tuesday.

The report substantiated sexual harassment claims of 11 women and found that he contributed to a hostile work environment. The report also found that Cuomo's office retaliated against Boylan after she came forward.

Cuomo has denied the allegations raised by Boylan and all other accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

a woman talking on a cell phone: Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development adviser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaks to people as they attend a rally and march calling for impeachment of Cuomo at Washington Square park, in New York, March 20, 2021. © Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP, FILE Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development adviser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaks to people as they attend a rally and march calling for impeachment of Cuomo at Washington Square park, in New York, March 20, 2021.

Basinger said the next step for her and Boylan is to file a lawsuit.

"There is no question that Lindsey was harassed, that she was subjected to a hostile work environment and that she was assaulted. But most problematically, she was retaliated against, not just by the governor, but by his inner circle, both inside the government and out," Basinger said. "There was an entire conspiracy to diminish her and to hurt her credibility, and we find that to be the most offensive part of all this."


Video: Cuomo defiant over NY Attorney General's report (Associated Press)

When asked if she's confident the suit will succeed, Basinger said she was.

MORE: Cuomo report: Could he face criminal charges?

"The attorney general and the investigators, after looking at all the facts, after doing an exhaustive examination, found with no ifs, ands or buts that Lindsey was 100% retaliated against," Basinger said.

The report concluded that Cuomo allegedly violated federal and state law in retaliating against Boylan, and he and some senior staff in his office "actively engaged in an effort to discredit her."

MORE: What's next for Cuomo after sexual harassment report?

The report said that the executive chamber, along with a group of outside advisers, "engaged in a series of retaliatory actions" that included disseminating confidential and privileged files relating to complaints made against Boylan to the press, and drafting a proposed op-ed "that contained personal and professional attacks" on Boylan that was shared with current and former executive chamber employees. That draft was never published.

a woman talking on a cell phone © Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP, FILE

"The Governor and some of his senior staff questioned at the time (and continue to question) Ms. Boylan's motivations, claiming that she made her allegations of sexual harassment for political reasons, i.e., to bolster her political campaign, or generally to be vindictive or retaliatory herself. But retaliation is unlawful regardless of whether the employer believes the complainant is acting with a good faith belief that she was harassed," the report said.

Cuomo's lawyer, Rita Glavin, denied Boylan's sexual harassment allegations in a response released after Tuesday's report. The response did not touch on the Cuomo's alleged retaliation efforts.

"I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," Cuomo said in a video statement following the report's release Tuesday. "That's not who I am."

Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a statement in a pre-recorded video released, Aug. 3, 2021, in New York. © Office of the NY Governor via AP New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a statement in a pre-recorded video released, Aug. 3, 2021, in New York.

At the moment, the governor is facing investigations by multiple district attorney offices across New York that are looking into alleged incidents outlined in the report that possibly took place in those jurisdictions and could possibly lead to criminal charges. Experts have said the most serious accusations, if proven, could lead to misdemeanor charges.

At the same time, the New York State Assembly's impeachment investigation into Cuomo is ongoing, and may ramp up soon.

MORE: Timeline: Investigation alleges New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed women

The Assembly's Judiciary Committee said Thursday the committee's investigation "is nearing completion" and the Assembly "will soon consider potential articles of impeachment." The Judiciary Committee requested the governor produce evidence or written submissions for consideration in the probe, due Aug. 13.

MORE: Cuomo impeachment inquiry: How a trial would unfold

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet in Albany on Monday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the impeachment probe.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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