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Two top Cuomo aides leave amid sexual harassment, nursing home scandals

Two top female aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) are reportedly departing his administration as the governor continues to grapple with two growing scandals.

Press secretary Caitlin Girouard and interim policy adviser Erin Hammond have both left Cuomo’s administration, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Their departures came after senior adviser Gareth Rhodes and first deputy press secretary Will Burns also announced they’d be leaving the Cuomo administration, though the governor’s office has said these were previously planned, Bloomberg notes. They also said Hammond had been set to leave for several months to “focus on her family,” and Girouard says she accepted another job in January, according to The Hill.

But the departures come as Cuomo is facing growing criticism and calls to resign in the wake of three allegations of sexual harassment, including from two former aides. He’s also under fire for his handling of data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths, with The New York Times reporting on Thursday that Cuomo aides rewrote a report to take out the number of New York nursing home residents who died from COVID-19.

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Girouard, Bloomberg points out, had issued the statement last week denying former aide Lindsey Boylan’s sexual harassment claims, as well as the statement in December saying there is “simply no truth to these claims.”

Cuomo earlier this week apologized over the sexual harassment allegations, saying he didn’t intend to act “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” while denying that he ever “touched anyone inappropriately.” However, Cuomo said he will not resign from office. On Friday, according to CNBC, state lawmakers moved to strip Cuomo of COVID-19 pandemic emergency powers.