GOP lawmakers call for special counsel to investigate sexual misconduct allegations in NY AG office

Three New York GOP lawmakers on Tuesday called for Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against the former chief of staff in the state’s attorney general’s office.

U.S. House Reps. Claudia Tenney, Elise Stefanik and Chris Jacobs sent a letter to Hochul asking her to immediately appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the sexual harassment claims against Ibrahim Khan.

The Republicans cited a “mishandling” of an investigation into Khan’s alleged misconduct by the attorney general’s office.

“When you took over from disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, you made a commitment to change New York’s culture of corruption, which included tackling the reoccurring problem of sexual harassment,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, asking for “a fair, transparent, and accountable investigation into Ms. James’s handling of this incident by an independent special counsel.”

Khan announced he would resign from the New York Attorney General’s Office as chief of staff this month following an outside law firm’s investigation into two sexual misconduct claims.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) was slammed for not disclosing the investigation before this month and of handling it differently than a similar misconduct probe that helped lead to Cuomo’s ouster as governor in 2021.

James said she conducted an “independent, impartial investigation” to probe the misconduct claims — which included inappropriate touching and kissing — after she learned of them in October.

“My office treated this matter as aggressively as every other matter that has come before our office,” she wrote in a statement this month.

However, the GOP lawmakers said there were previous public reports of alleged misconduct against Khan in 2017 and questioned whether James had not known about the allegations before the investigation this year.

“New Yorkers deserve to know if James was truthful when she claimed to have not known about the multiple allegations against Mr. Khan,” they wrote. “New Yorkers also deserve to know why Ms. James used a law firm with ties to her staff to investigate the matter and why, unlike in previous cases, she did not seek contract approval for the investigation, which would have created a paper trail.”