From Coast to Coast, Political Leaders in Sanctuary States and Cities Have Faced Insurmountable Backlash and Accusations —Could They Be Facing a Takedown in Full Force?
By now it is safe to assume that most of us are aware of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was essentially forced out of office, publicly shamed, and has faced both criminal and civil charges from the women who have come forward, not to mention reputation assassination. Now let me preface this by saying that sexual assault and harassment of any kind is an increasingly dangerous problem for women and men alike, especially within corporate America. Harassment and assault should never be taken lightly, as it leaves victims with not only physical but mental distress that can last a lifetime. Those who are found guilty of these kinds of charges should be prosecuted to the highest extent of the law.
Since the “Me Too” movement began, women of all races, professions, and backgrounds have courageously stepped forward to report the predominantly white men who have harmed them. To all of those brave women, I commend you and urge every woman and man who has been wrongfully harmed, especially in the workplace to step forward in truth so that justice may be served and the patriarchy can be held accountable for its wrongdoings.
Now there is a caveat here that I think many forget. While it is certainly true that most women who come forward are reporting facts and can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their allegations are true — when it comes to political leaders the process seems to be skewed, especially in Andrew Cuomo’s case. Former Governor Cuomo was accused of sexually harassing 11 women, one of which reported non-consensual groping of her breasts in the workplace which warranted a criminal charge.
So in any court case, there is due process to create an unbiased trial rooted in the facts and the truth. The Attorney General conducts an investigation, they submit the evidence, and the trial moves forward. However, New York Attorney General Letitia James refused to release evidence to Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin, even after multiple written notices. The AG is required by law to release the underlying evidence, and once forced to release evidence to opposing counsel, Glavin discovered that the submitted evidence was only the tip of the iceberg and the Attorney General was withholding evidence that would prove favorable to the former Governor.
“You can't start a case by saying you believe all women. You can't, if you’re a lawyer. What you can say is everybody has a right to come forward, men, women,” Glavin said. “And they have a right to have their allegations scrutinized, evidence collected, and then you make a determination. That's how our process worked.”
What was found in the evidence submitted told a much deeper tale. A number of the women who came forward and accused Governor Cuomo of misconduct were not consistent in their stories, had a past of lying about sexual assault and even threatened a witness. If that does not raise red flags that this is a much deeper issue, I don’t know what will. Let’s take a deeper look:
• Lindsey Boylan, a self-proclaimed Twitter whistleblower claimed that Cuomo asked her to play strip poker on a flight with her and other colleagues, including Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky. Boylan and Zemsky were allegedly romantically involved in 2017 and as a witness, Zemsky denied the claims about Governor Cuomo. When Boylan discovered that Zemsky did not back her story she used an encrypted, self-destructing messaging app to threaten Zemsky stating “I can’t wait to destroy your life, your s–t follower.” Once Zemsky was threatened, he changed his tune. Let me challenge you to think critically here: why would Boylan feel the need to tamper and threaten a witness to back her allegations? Additionally, threatening texts were sent to the governor's staff to recruit women to rally behind Boylan in a takedown of Cuomo. Boylan’s testimony is not credible and raised more red flags about a political takedown than it did Cuomo’s behavior.
• Charlotte Bennet tweeted that Andrew Cuomo propositioned her for sex, which is a serious allegation in the workplace and unacceptable in any regard. However, when you hear her testimony and hear what she considers a sexual advance, you begin to question her allegations. Charlotte Bennet stated that one day, she was in a rush and threw her hair up in a messy bun as millions of women do every day. She stated in the morning when she greeted Governor Cuomo he made a statement about her hair since she normally did not wear her hair that way. Before leaving for the day, Cuomo again asked why her hair was in a bun — she took this as a sexual advance, and a proposition for sex. Rude? Sure, absolutely — it is no man’s business how a woman presents herself and how she chooses to wear her hair, but it is not sexual assault, and it is not a crime. Furthermore, at Hamilton College Bennett accused a peer of sexual assault which cost the education career of one young man — she later admitted that the claim was indeed false. Again, she may have been offended by Cuomo’s statement regarding her hair, as most women would — but there is a stark difference between what is a crime and what is not — being rude is not a crime.
• The testimony of Brittany Commisso was found not credible either, as her story went in circles that did not add up. When her colleague took a selfie with Cuomo she responded that she was jealous and wanted to be there — yet accused Cuomo of grabbing her breast under her shirt in 2017 at the Governor’s mansion. Her testimony was all over the place, inconsistent dates and sentiment resulting in the criminal charge being dropped. The list goes on, but this is the small portion of the evidence that came to light which truly did nothing but expose a deeper issue. Now, is Governor Cuomo innocent on all charges? Probably not — he admittedly stated he has not behaved appropriately at all times, but the gross misuse of evidence in this trial is becoming the real issue at hand. The Attorney General’s report was flawed and misleading and disregarded evidence that influenced the case.
Glavin states that the AG’s report was shoddy, one-sided, and predetermined. She goes on to say that in the AG’s investigations, no one asked the hard questions to uncover the full truth and the report is full of political bias. How could this be? We’ve seen since the onset of the pandemic that political leaders rally together to put certain leaders in a corner without underlying evidence to support it as a means to push them out of office. In our current landscape, many politicians are too afraid to even question an allegation for fear of being ‘canceled’ — but that is not upholding our legal system and is creating a platform for disaster.
Think about it — leaders in sanctuary states and cities like Andrew Cuomo and California’s Gavin Newsom have faced nothing but attack after attack after attack to push them out of office. While most of these attacks fail — these allegations swung the door wide open for a political takedown without looking at the facts.
“Let me say now that when the government politicizes allegations and the headlines condemn without facts, you undermine the justice system and that doesn’t serve women and it doesn’t serve men or society. The truth will come out in time. Of that I am confident." - Governor Cuomo
Cuomo went above and beyond to improve the state’s infrastructure, championed racial equity, propelled initiatives promoting women’s rights, and led New Yorkers through an unprecedented pandemic. While some may not have liked his leadership style— the investigation into his behavior shows that he was going to be found guilty before the investigation even began. Is that a fair use of our justice system? Is he the victim of a grander political takedown plot? Are those “women” being hired to do what they always do? Take down people who don’t agree with them or give into them getting their way? The takedown of democracy is in full effect. All I can say is to keep an eye out for the leaders in sanctuary cities and the attempts to remove them from office.