Cuomo Probe to Be Led by Ex-Federal Prosecutor, Bias Lawyer

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New York Attorney General Letitia James selected a former top federal prosecutor and a prominent employment bias lawyer to lead the state’s investigation into sexual harassment claims against Governor Andrew Cuomo.

James selected Joon Kim, who ran the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for about nine months in 2017, and attorney Anne L. Clark to shepherd the independent probe, the attorney general said Monday in a statement.

The decision is a significant step forward for a civil probe that’s in its early days. The selection of Kim, in particular, signals the seriousness of the investigation, given his long experience handling complex civil and criminal matters in New York.

Cuomo has denied touching women inappropriately and apologized for making anyone feel uncomfortable. He has also refused calls, including from fellow Democrats, to resign, urging New Yorkers to instead wait for the results of James’s investigation.

Kim, who is now with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York, succeeded U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara after his firing by then-President Donald Trump in March 2017. Clarke is a name partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, where she has argued numerous sexual harassment and other employment discrimination cases.

“Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark are independent, legal experts who have decades of experience conducting investigations,” James said in the statement. “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.”

The team will investigate the circumstances surrounding the claims of sexual harassment against Cuomo, including his administration’s handling of allegations. They’re empowered to issue subpoenas, examine documents and conduct interviews and formal depositions, James said.

The investigative team will report weekly to James’s office. “Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the team will produce a written report which will include its findings,” James added.

Clark will bring experience handling allegations of mistreatment. Just last week she filed a federal suit in Manhattan against Accenture LLP on behalf of a 51-year-old former employee, Stacey Skole, who claimed she was wrongfully terminated after complaining of abusive behavior by a male managing director.

“In addition to taking action against Skole because she was a woman who stood up for herself, Accenture’s unlawful termination of Skole’s employment was part of its larger pattern of systematically replacing older workers with younger ones,” Clark wrote in the complaint.

Accenture’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the suit.

Clark in November filed a similar case against Northwell Health Inc. on behalf of a male executive, Keith Carlson, who claimed he was fired for pretextual reasons by managers “who were fixated on age” and applied age-based stereotypes to him. Northwell denies the allegations.

Kim’s experience is also extensive. As a federal prosecutor, he was elevated from chief of the criminal division to Bharara’s No. 2 at a critical time for an office with expertise in insider-trading and securities-fraud prosecutions. And as the U.S. attorney, he led a team of 220 assistants handling everything from cybercrime to terrorism.

Kim returned to Cleary Gottlieb in 2018.

“Joon is one of the most accomplished and distinguished litigators in New York,” the firm’s managing partner Michael Gerstenzang said in a statement at the time.

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