New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mr Cuomo, who is already being investigated after five women accused him of sexual harassment, is now facing allegations of assault from a sixth.
Mr De Blasio called the women’s accounts “absolutely unacceptable”.
The governor has denied all of the allegations against him, and said of the most recent claim: “I have never done anything like this.”
Mayor De Blasio, a long-time political rival of Democrat Governor Cuomo, told reporters on Thursday: “The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called them to a private place and then sexually assaulted her, it’s absolutely unacceptable.
“It is disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor.”
Mr Cuomo, whose term in office comes to an end in 2022, was last year praised for his handling of the Covid epidemic in his state. However, this year he has been accused of obscuring the scale of coronavirus deaths in the state’s nursing homes.
Since the allegations of harassment were made a string of people have called for his resignation.
On Thursday, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he had given the go-ahead for an “impeachment investigation” into the allegations made against Mr Cuomo. The investigation, which will interview witnesses and look at evidence, would be the first step towards impeachment.
More than 55 Democratic legislators in New York have signed a letter calling on him to step down.
In a statement Mr Cuomo called the new claims, reported by the Times Union of Albany on Wednesday, “gut-wrenching”.
He has previously said that he would wait for the results of an independent investigation into the allegations, which is being overseen by the New York’s attorney general Letitia James.
What has Cuomo been accused of?
According to the Times Union newspaper, the unnamed woman was called to Mr Cuomo’s private residence in Albany last year on the “apparent pretext” of helping him figure out an issue with his phone.
The woman also reportedly told the newspaper the governor touched her inappropriately on other occasions.
She has not filed a formal complaint.
However, the paper reported that she told a female supervisor about the incident after a group of staff members watched Mr Cuomo give a press conference on 3 March denying previous allegations of harassment.
Mr Cuomo was first accused of harassment in February, when Lindsey Boylan, a former top-level aide, wrote in an essay that the governor touched her without her consent and frequently made inappropriate comments about her appearance.
Ms Boylan accused Mr Cuomo of kissing her on the lips and asking her to play strip poker while on his private jet.
Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, told the New York Times that she “understood the governor wanted to sleep with me”.
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