New York Democrats appear to be circling the floats to protect Attorney General Letitia James as she fights for her political life.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Thursday he does not support the idea of investigating his fellow Democrat’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment against a senior adviser, despite ongoing questions about whether she will address the troubling allegations of political advantage ahead of the election buried on November 8th.
“On the surface of things I’ve seen, I don’t think we need to investigate the investigation,” Heastie said Thursday.
The Bronx powerbroker is the latest Democratic official to express satisfaction with how James has handled the allegation against former chief of staff Ibrahim Khan, who resigned on November 22, despite growing calls from the GOP for the Legislature or a Special Prosecutor launches an investigation.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams also gave James additional support on Thursday.
“I don’t think I know of a better advocate fighting for women than Tish James,” Hizzonner said Thursday.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Gov. Kathy Hochul – who could appoint a special prosecutor – both had no comment Thursday.
“We must clearly condemn sexual harassment wherever it occurs, there must be accountability, and to my knowledge steps have been taken in that direction,” Hochul told reporters in Manhattan on Wednesday, before James spoke publicly about the matter.
But James has yet to convince her critics how much she knew about her longtime assistant’s troubling behavior, as well as the reasons why she didn’t alert law enforcement when she hired an outside law firm to investigate allegations against Khan involving two women were.
James also claimed that for three years she never heard of any sexual assault allegations from Khan, who was a top adviser for a decade from her time as a public advocate until 2017, when it was exclusively reported by The Post.
“This could have a deterrent effect on anyone else who might be victimized by Khan or anyone else in the administration, and an independent investigator could be a place for others – if they exist – to come forward without fear of that the bureau will cover up their cases,” Michael Henry, who lost an election in November to James 44.5% to 53%, said in a statement.
One of Khan’s accusers, former Attorney General Sofia Quintanar, 33, told the New York Times that Khan violently grabbed and kissed her in November 2021 after she quit her job in James’ office.
And Quintanar claimed James was more concerned with protecting Khan, who has denied wrongdoing, than finding out the truth, despite the national reputation she built last year after a blockbuster sexual misconduct report that helped to drive the disgraced ex-gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has denied wrongdoing, from power.
“I just find it appalling to see the way the agency has handled this publicly,” she said.
But Democrats like Heastie have signaled they are more willing to look ahead than dwell on the scandal that is engulfing James.
“We need to address the issue of sexual harassment. This just goes to show that we still have a lot of work to do in this state, especially when it comes to protecting women,” he added.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/08/democrats-play-defense-for-ag-james-amid-staffer-sexual-harassment-scandal/ Democrats play defense for AG Letitia James amid employee sexual harassment scandal