New York governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the state attorney general to review how the New York County district attorney, Cyrus Vance, handled a 2015 investigation into sexual-assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Cuomo’s announcement comes after Time’s Up published a powerful letter on the Cut on Sunday night, demanding that the governor launch an independent investigation into Vance’s decision not to bring charges against Weinstein for assaulting Ambra Battilana. Time’s Up was prompted to issue the open letter after a story in New York Magazine revealed the alleged mishandling of the sexual-assault case.
“The recent revelations about sexual assault and harassment pervasive in our society are most disturbing,” the governor wrote in a statement on Monday. “We are leading the way forward with the nation’s most comprehensive reform package. This behavior must end.”
Following the governor’s announcement, actresses involved in the Time’s Up movement voiced their support for Cuomo’s decision on Twitter.
Here is the governor’s full statement:
It is of great concern that sexual assault cases have not been pursued with full vigor by our criminal justice system. Specifically, there are questions about the handling of the 2015 sexual assault case of Ms. Ambra Battilana against Harvey Weinstein.
The Manhattan District Attorney is currently in the midst of a separate investigation, which involves witnesses and facts from the 2015 case. The Manhattan District Attorney at this point believes this current investigation will be completed within approximately 45 days. It is critical not only that these cases are given the utmost attention but also that there is public confidence in the handling of these cases. Therefore, I have directed the Attorney General to begin a review of the 2015 case in a way that does not interfere with the current investigation and, at the conclusion of the Manhattan District Attorney’s current investigation, to review the entire matter and report to me on its findings. Based on these findings we will decide what further actions may be necessary.
The recent revelations about sexual assault and harassment pervasive in our society are most disturbing. We are leading the way forward with the nation’s most comprehensive reform package. This behavior must end.