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Aide Who Accused Governor Cuomo of Assault Files Criminal Complaint

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The move comes after an investigation by the New York State Attorney General found that the governor had sexually harassed 11 women.


Criminal Complaint Filed After Investigation

An executive assistant who accused New York City Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of groping her breast at the Executive Mansion last year has filed a criminal complaint, the Albany County Sheriff’s office said Friday.

The move comes just days after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her five-month investigation into misconduct claims against Cuomo found he sexually harassed multiple women inside and outside the government in violation of both state and federal law.

The inquiry was initially launched in March when numerous women accused the governor of unwanted touching and kissing, along with unsolicited advances and fostering a hostile work environment. At the time, Cuomo denied the allegations, urging the public and his colleagues to wait until the completion of the investigation, which he insisted would show no wrongdoing.

With the probe now concluded, and despite the overwhelming evidence, Cuomo has continued to deny the allegations and has rejected widespread calls to resign. Such calls have been made by New York’s entire Democratic delegation in the House, both of the state’s senators, and President Joe Biden.

Investigator’s Report Corroborates Allegations

Investigators revealed Tuesday that after interviewing 179 witnesses and collecting tens of thousands of documents, emails, texts, and photos, they were able to corroborate the claims of 11 women. 

That included nine current or former state employees and two previously unreported allegations of unwanted touching.

The damning 165-page report on the investigator’s findings described a pattern of abuse by Cuomo. It detailed how he and his aides created a toxic work culture “rife with fear and intimidation” that helped enable “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.”

The inquiry also found that on at least one occasion, the governor and his senior staff retaliated against a former employee who made her allegations public. Additionally, Cuomo was found to have made numerous suggestive sexual comments that constituted “unlawful sexual harassment,” and his office failed to handle complaints according to state law.

While announcing the findings, James said the probe was civil in nature and thus did not recommend criminal charges. Accusers can decide if they want to bring a civil lawsuit, and any prosecutor can also examine the evidence to determine if they want to take legal action.

The New Filing

The new complaint by the unnamed Cuomo staffer represents the first known instance of a woman filing an official report with a law enforcement agency regarding alleged misconduct by the embattled governor.

The woman who brought forth the complaint was identified in James’ report as “Executive Assistant #1,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told the New York Post, which first reported the news.

She had told investigators that, since 2019, Cuomo acted inappropriately, kissing and hugging her in ways that made her uncomfortable. 

She said his advances escalated last November at his residence when he reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast. The woman also claimed the governor once rubbed her bottom while they were posing together for a photo in December.

The aide did not initially report either incident because she was “terrified” she would lose her job, but after several women came forward with accusations in March, she recounted her allegations to multiple other executive assistants.

When asked about the complaint by reporters on Friday, a spokesperson for Cuomo again pointed towards the governor’s denial of all accusations against him and said that his administration had referred the woman’s case to its employee relations office several months ago.

Notably, Albany County Sheriff Apple told the Post that it is possible Cuomo could be arrested if investigators with the district attorney’s office find he committed a criminal offense.

“The end result could either be it sounds substantiated and an arrest is made and it would be up to the DA to prosecute the arrest,” he said.

See what others are saying: (The New York Post) (The New York Times) (The Associated Press)

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Virginia Governor’s Tip Line to Report Teachers Spammed by Trolls

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The tip line was created for parents to report educators who violate the governor’s new executive orders banning critical race theory and making masking optional.


Youngkin’s Controversial Policies

Celebrities, TikTok activists, and other social media users have been spamming an email tip line set up by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) intended for parents to report teachers and “divisive practices in their schools.”

The tip line was implemented after the new governor enacted several highly controversial policies targeted at public schools in the weeks since taking office.

On his first day, Youngkin signed an executive order banning so-called critical race theory (CRT) from being taught in public schools. CRT, which is largely taught in higher education institutions, is not included in Virginia’s curriculum standards. As a result, many educators and scholars have expressed concerns that the policy will be used to broadly restrict the accurate teaching of history.

Shortly after imposing the CRT ban, Youngkin further angered educators by signing an executive order making masking optional in schools. According to a recent analysis by The Washington Post, the majority of Virginia schools enrolling two-thirds of all students have actively disobeyed the order.

The email tip line, introduced Monday, is intended to report educators and schools that do not follow Youngkin’s policies.

Calls to Spam Tip Line

The tattle-on-a-teacher tip line prompted widespread criticism. Many people took to Twitter to urge other users to spam the email, including major names with massive followings, like musician John Legend.

“Black parents need to flood these tip lines with complaints about our history being silenced. We are parents too,” he tweeted. 

Several TikTok activists also encouraged their followers to bomb the tip line as well, including 21-year-old Sofia Ongele, who even launched a website that automatically generates emails to send to the line that include the name of a public school in Virginia and lyrics to a pop song.

Ongele told Insider that, so far, the website has gotten a lot of traffic, attracting about 1,500 people every 30 minutes.

These efforts are not the first time social media users, and specifically young TikTokers, have encouraged others to troll a tip line set up by conservative figures. In September, TikTokers also sent fake reports, porn, and Shrek memes to a tip line intended to report people who violated Texas’ six-week abortion ban.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Insider) (WDBJ7)

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Federal Court Throws Out Alabama Congressional Map, Citing Racial Gerrymandering

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The judges ruled that the Republican-held legislature gerrymandered the map so the state only had one Black-majority district despite Black residents composing 27% of the state’s population.


Alabama Ordered to Redraw Map

A panel of federal judges tossed Alabama’s new congressional map on Monday, ruling that the current version significantly weakens the voting power of Black residents.   

In their decision, the three judges noted that while about 27% of Alabamians are Black, the map drawn by the Republican-led legislature after the 2020 census was gerrymandered to leave just one of the state’s seven districts with a Black majority.

“Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress,” the judges wrote. “We find that the plaintiffs will suffer an irreparable harm if they must vote in the 2022 congressional elections based on a redistricting plan that violates federal law.”

As a result, the panel also ordered state lawmakers to redraw their map so that it includes “two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it.”

The legislature was given 14 days to redo their map before they appoint a special master to do so.

Ongoing Legal Battles

Shortly after the ruling, a spokesperson for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement that his office “strongly disagrees with the court’s decision and will be appealing in the coming days.” 

According to reports, the matter could ultimately go to the Supreme Court, which would decide whether lawmakers can draw maps that are gerrymandered along racial lines.

The high court ruled in 2019 that federal courts do not have the power to block congressional maps that are gerrymandered to skew districts in a partisan manner unless a state’s constitution explicitly prohibits such gerrymandering. The justices did keep parts of the Voting Rights Act that ban racial or ethnic gerrymandering, which the federal panel claimed was the case in Alabama.

Alabama’s congressional map is not the only one drawn by Republicans that has been thrown out in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Ohio’s Supreme Court ordered lawmakers to redraw a map that would have given Republicans 12 congressional seats and Democrats just three despite the fact that recently the GOP has only won about 55% of the popular vote statewide.

The state’s high court ruled that the map clearly violated a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2018 that effectively banned partisan gerrymandering.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (AL.com)

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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Affirmative Action Cases at Harvard and UNC

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The decision to take up the two cases marks the first time affirmative action will go before the high court’s latest conservative-majority bloc.


SCOTUS Takes on Race-Conscious Admissions, Again

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will again consider whether race-conscious admissions programs at universities are legal in two cases that could have serious implications for affirmative action.

The two lawsuits center around admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), both of which were brought by the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions.

The Harvard case started in 2014 with a lawsuit that claimed the school discriminated against Asian American students by effectively creating a quota for their admission. It also alleged the school a subjective standard to measure personality traits like likability, courage, and kindness.

The Ivy League school denied the allegations, claiming the challengers used incorrect statistical analysis and broadly arguing that race-conscious policies are legal.

In the case against UNC, the group alleged that the school discriminated against white and Asian applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic, and Native American students.

The university, for its part, argued that its policies create more diversity among its student body, also echoing Harvard’s argument that such rules are legal under decades of Supreme Court precedents.

Past Precedent Up in the Air

Lower courts ruled in favor of both schools, finding they did indeed comply with Supreme Court decisions.

But in taking up these two cases, the high court’s conservative majority will now examine whether race-conscious admissions are legal at all. The move could decide the future of affirmative action and undermine more than four decades of precedent on the use of race in college admissions.

The last two times the high court took up cases regarding affirmative action, the justices upheld the constitutionality of race-conscious programs by slim majorities. Now, those majorities have been replaced by a conservative bloc that includes three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump.

According to reports, the justices will likely hear the cases in October. 

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (NPR)

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