New York Attorney General Letitia James appointed attorney Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark on Monday to lead an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“We are committed to an independent and thorough investigation of the facts,” James said in a statement. “Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark are independent, legal experts who have decades of experience conducting investigations and fighting to uphold the rule of law. There is no question that they both have the knowledge and background necessary to lead this investigation and provide New Yorkers with the answers they deserve.”
Kim, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, focuses on internal investigations and regulatory enforcement, as well as high-stakes litigation.
He served as acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from March 2017 to January 2018, overseeing all criminal and civil litigation conducted on behalf of the United States and supervising the work of approximately 220 assistant U.S. attorneys handling a wide range of cases.
Clark, a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C., focuses on employment law issues on behalf of employees at the trial and appellate levels. Prior to joining Vladeck nearly 30 years ago, Clark was a staff attorney at the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she worked on the Eleventh Circuit appeal of the landmark sexual harassment case Robinson v. Jacksonville Shipyards, Inc.
Kim and Clark will lead Jennifer Kennedy Park, Abena Mainoo, and Yannick Grant to proceed with the investigation.
James’s appointment came two days after Ana Liss and Karen Hinton, the fourth and fifteh accusers of Cuomo, came forward with their claims.
Liss told The Wall Street Journal in a story published March 6 that when she worked as a policy aide to the governor between 2013 and 2015, Cuomo called her “sweetheart,” and once kissed her hand and asked personal questions, including whether she had a boyfriend. She said he sometimes greeted her with a hug and a kiss on both cheeks.
Karen Hinton told The Washington Post in a story published March 6 that when she worked as a press aide to the governor in 2000, Cuomo summoned her to his hotel room and embraced her even after she pushed away.
Cuomo has denied all the allegations of sexual harrassment through his associates and has repeatedly refused calls to resign after the third woman to accuse him came forward.
During a press conference on March 3, Cuomo denied ever touching women in a way he thought was inappropriate but apologized if his actions caused pain.
“I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable,” he said. “I never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone pain.”
Cuomo’s workplace conduct was already under intense scrutiny before the several women came forward to allege that the governor had sexually harassed them or at least made them feel demeaned or uncomfortable. Cuomo was facing a crisis of confidence over his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths that occurred on his watch.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report