New York mayor demands inquiry into Cuomo sexual harassment claims
FILE PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in New York City, U.S., August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

New York City's mayor on Thursday joined a growing chorus of politicians calling for an investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, accused the governor of sexually harassing her when she worked for his administration from 2015 to 2018 in a blog post published Wednesday.

She says Cuomo kissed her on the mouth without consent, suggested they played strip poker during a flight and went "out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs."

Cuomo's office said in a statement carried by US media that Boylan's "claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false."

When Boylan first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, without providing details, in a tweet in December, the 63-year-old Democratic governor said it was "just not true."

"We need a full and independent investigation," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat and long-time rival of the governor.

"This is a very serious charge. We have got to know the truth," de Blasio told reporters.

Cuomo became a national star last spring with his straight-talking yet empathetic coronavirus briefings that contrasted sharply with then-president Donald Trump dismissive approach to the pandemic.

But the harassment allegations come as he faces a growing storm over his handling of the coronavirus in nursing homes in his state.

New York federal prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into whether his administration deliberately concealed the number of deaths in care homes.

His government was forced to revise the number of fatalities up from 8,500 to 15,000 after New York's state attorney general Letitia James said it had underestimated the toll by several thousand.

Cuomo is also facing accusations that he is a bully after state lawmaker Ron Kim said the governor vowed to "destroy" him for attacking him on nursing homes.

Cuomo has been governor of New York for ten years. His third-term is due to end in 2022.

He is considered a moderate and frequently clashes with left-wing members of the Democratic Party.