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An Emboldened Cuomo Takes Swings at Accusers and Investigators

Not long after a misdemeanor sex-crime charge was dropped last month against former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, his aides told his supporters to stay tuned, signaling that he would soon go on the attack.

On Thursday, Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, did just that, holding a nearly two-hour news conference to try to undermine the credibility of some of the women who accused Mr. Cuomo and to sharpen her broadsides against the state attorney general’s office, which oversaw the investigation that concluded Mr. Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women.

In one example, Ms. Glavin cited a threatening message that she said one of Mr. Cuomo’s accusers, Lindsey Boylan, had sent her boss. The attorney general, Letitia James, did not release the contents of the message, Ms. Glavin said, but Mr. Cuomo’s camp had learned of it as part of the criminal case against the former governor that was recently dismissed.

Ms. Glavin also highlighted other previously undisclosed comments or messages from some of Mr. Cuomo’s accusers and other witnesses, suggesting that they showed that both the report — which she said deliberately ignored evidence favorable to the former governor — and Mr. Cuomo’s accusers were compromised.

She would not speculate on Mr. Cuomo’s political future, noting that the former governor was still exploring “whatever legal options he has available to him.”

“He can’t move on,” she said. “He won’t move on until the right thing happens.”

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office released a statement saying that Ms. Glavin’s news conference amounted to “another attempt by the former governor to attack the brave women who called out his abuse.”

“Thousands of pages of transcripts, exhibits, videos, and other evidence have already been publicly released, but these lies continue in an effort to mask the truth: Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women,” the statement said, adding that the claims had been corroborated by a separate investigation by the State Assembly.

Some of the evidence Ms. Glavin cited on Thursday was turned over to Mr. Cuomo’s lawyers as part of the legal process, after the Albany County sheriff’s office filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Cuomo on charges of groping Brittany Commisso, a former executive assistant. Prosecutors in Albany ultimately decided to drop the case earlier this month, though they said that they found Ms. Commisso credible.

Ms. Glavin’s most vociferous attacks were directed at the first woman to accuse Mr. Cuomo, Ms. Boylan, a former economic development official. She has accused Mr. Cuomo of kissing her on the lips after a meeting in his Manhattan office and of asking her if she wanted to play strip poker while they were on a flight back in October 2017.

Howard Zemsky, the former head of Empire State Development and Ms. Boylan’s former boss, had told investigators under oath that he remembered Mr. Cuomo making such a comment on the flight, after initially saying he did not recall it.

Ms. Glavin suggested that Mr. Zemsky changed his testimony after Ms. Boylan sent him a threatening message.

“I can’t wait to destroy your life,” Ms. Boylan wrote to Mr. Zemsky through an encrypted messaging application, according to testimony Mr. Zemsky gave to investigators, Ms. Glavin said.

The attorney general’s report did acknowledge that Mr. Zemsky received a “disparaging” message from Ms. Boylan, which he found “jarring” and “threatening,” but the content of the message was not included in the report. Ms. Glavin said that investigators never questioned Ms. Boylan about the threatening message; officials from the state attorney general’s office said they never obtained the actual message.

“The former governor and his attorney are continuing their smear campaign of Ms. Boylan to punish her for being the first of multiple women to expose the governor’s misconduct,” Julie Gerchik, a lawyer for Ms. Boylan, said in a statement on Thursday.

Ms. Glavin also claimed that one of Ms. Boylan’s campaign consultants, Lupe Todd-Medina, had quit because she did not believe Ms. Boylan’s allegations, and Ms. Glavin castigated the attorney general for failing to speak to her.

But Ms. Todd-Medina said that was inaccurate, explaining that her decision to leave the campaign was unrelated to the allegations, and saying that she had, in fact, spoken with investigators.

Ms. Glavin also sought to poke holes in the credibility of Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who said that Mr. Cuomo had quizzed her about her sex life. Ms. Glavin questioned why the attorney general report made no mention of an episode from Ms. Bennett’s time as an undergraduate at Hamilton College.

Ms. Bennett and three others accused a male classmate of sexual misconduct, resulting in his removal from campus, Ms. Glavin said. That student later sued the college, charging that he had been falsely accused and that Ms. Bennett (referred to by a pseudonym in the lawsuit) knowingly filed a false claim against him. The lawsuit was later settled by the school.

“Rita Glavin’s comments are a transparent, shameless effort to discredit Charlotte, whose allegations were substantiated by both the attorney general and the State Assembly,” Debra Katz, a lawyer for Ms. Bennett, said in a statement. “They have no purpose other than to punish Charlotte for coming forward by smearing her reputation.”

Ms. Glavin also took aim at a peripheral accusation that was not one of the 11 accounts highlighted by the attorney general: testimony from a female state trooper who said she had once been told by a senior member of the governor’s security detail that he had seen Mr. Cuomo and a top aide, Melissa DeRosa, “making out on the sidewalk like they were high schoolers.”

Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer has denied that account, contending that it amounted to hearsay and that investigators should have redacted it from the transcript. On Thursday, Ms. Glavin pressed on, saying that her team had received documents showing that the senior member of the security detail had told investigators that he had never seen Mr. Cuomo kissing Ms. DeRosa.

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Regionales

‘Devastated’: Crowds Throng Funeral Service for 15 Bronx Fire Victims

A line of black hearses began pulling up outside the doors of the Islamic Cultural Center in the Bronx just after 10 a.m. on Sunday. They maneuvered past throngs of distraught mourners who had flocked to the mosque to say a final goodbye to friends, children, parents and cousins killed in a fire that took the lives of 17 members of a close-knit Gambian community.

Indoors, women consoled each other in a second-floor prayer space as the men gathered downstairs. Outside, two tents were filled with families watching the funeral service on a livestream.

Aminata Sillah, 42, had arrived early. She laid a blue prayer rug on the ground in the frigid morning air, tugging anxiously at her boots.

Ms. Sillah’s aunt, Fatoumata Drammeh, was among those who died on Jan. 9 as acrid smoke filled the apartment building on East 181st Street, suffocating people as they tried to flee the 19-story complex. Ms. Drammeh’s three children also died and were among the 15 people being honored during Sunday’s communal funeral service.

“I’m devastated,” Ms. Sillah said. “It’s been a restless week.”

An imam urged people to clear a path as the coffins, draped in black velvet cloth and held aloft by more than two dozen men, were carried inside the mosque.

“It’s just painful,” Haji Dukuray, 60, said before falling silent as a tiny, child-size coffin was placed near where he sat in the front row on a green prayer rug.

“All this innocence, these young kids,” Mr. Dukuray said. “They have no business being here.”

Yahya Sankara, 33, who lost his sister and two nephews, sighed loudly as his eyes began to tear up.

“My heart is done,” Mr. Sankara said. “I have nothing to say.”

New York’s new mayor, Eric Adams; the state’s attorney general, Letitia James; and Senator Chuck Schumer were among the elected leaders who attended the packed funeral service.

The fire, ignited by a space heater, was the city’s deadliest blaze in decades.

The blaze began just before 11 a.m. on a similarly chilly Sunday morning a week ago. Eight children were among the dead.

As the service started, the imam, Sankung Jeitteh, said he was struggling to control his emotions as he listed the names of families — Dukuray, Drammeh, Jambang, Konteh, Tunkara, Toure — decimated by the blaze.

“When the Lord asks for something, we have no choice but to agree,” he said, adding, “I’m trying to control myself.”

Family members started to quietly sob.

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Regionales

New York Governor Offers Hopeful Sign as Daily Cases Fall by 47%

Credit…Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, warned on Sunday that the Omicron surge of coronavirus cases had not yet peaked nationally, saying that the next few weeks would be very difficult in many parts of the country as hospitalizations and deaths rise.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Murthy noted the “good news” of the plateaus and drops in known cases in the Northeast, especially in New York City and New Jersey.

But “the challenge is that the entire country is not moving at the same pace,” he said, adding “we shouldn’t expect a national peak in the coming days.”

“The next few weeks will be tough,” he said.

The highly contagious Omicron variant has fueled an explosive surge of known cases, with an average of more than 800,000 new cases a day reported on Saturday, according to a New York Times database.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, also expressed concerns that the next several weeks would overwhelm hospitals and staff. “Right now we’re at about 150,000 people in the hospital with Covid,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s more than we’ve ever had. I expect those numbers to get substantially higher.”

In addition, Omicron has brought into sharp relief the longstanding lack of adequate testing supplies, with consumers now depleting pharmacies of costly rapid tests — a boxed set of two tests ranges from $14 to $24 — and creating long lines at testing sites.

The federal government has promised to distribute one billion rapid at-home coronavirus tests to Americans, limiting each household to request four free tests. And new federal rules require private insurers to cover up to eight at-home tests per member a month.

But with the test orders and reimbursement processes hampered by delays, Americans will likely not have tests in hand for weeks, which may be too late in some places where demand is high as infections spread.

“We’ve ordered too few testing kits, so our testing capacity has continued to lag behind each wave,” Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to President Trump, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s too little and too late, but noteworthy for the next wave.”

While many people infected with Omicron have had no or mild symptoms, others — especially those who were not vaccinated and those with chronic conditions — suffered more serious illnesses that were already overwhelming hospitals in some states late last year.

Dr. Murthy disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision last week that rejected President Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers that would have applied to more than 80 million workers.

“Well, the news about the workplace requirement being blocked was very disappointing,” Dr. Murthy said. “It was a setback for public health. Because what these requirements ultimately are helpful for is not just protecting the community at large; but making our workplaces safer for workers as well as for customers.”

Nearly 63 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, but only 38 percent of those have received a booster shot, which some have argued should be the new definition of full vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed the definition of full vaccination, but said recently it considers three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s vaccines to be “up-to-date,” as well as Johnson & Johnson’s shots with a second dose, preferably of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

Last week, the C.D.C. finally acknowledged that cloth masks do not offer as much protection as a surgical mask or respirator, which some experts have urged the agency to recommend for the general public.

“Please, please get vaccinated,” Dr. Murthy said on ABC, issuing a reminder that the shots still provide good protection against severe illness. “It’s still not too late.”

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Regionales

Homes That Sold for $520,000 or Less

Each week, our survey of recent residential sales in New York City and the surrounding region focuses on homes that sold around a certain price point, allowing you to compare single-family homes, condos and co-ops in different locales.

The “list price” is the asking price when the property came on the market with the most recent broker. The time on the market is measured from the most recent listing to the closing date of the sale.

BROOKLYN | 1 BEDROOM, 1 BATH

This 700-square-foot postwar co-op has hardwood floors, a southern exposure and an open kitchen with a breakfast bar in a non-doorman elevator building with a live-in superintendent.

20 weeks on the market

$375,000 list price

1% below list price

Costs $643 a month in maintenance

Listing broker Keller Williams


Connecticut | 2 bedrooms, 3 baths

This 45-year-old, 2,026-square-foot, semidetached condo has an open floor plan, a kitchen with granite counters and island seating and two decks in a complex for those aged 55 and over.

12 weeks on the market

$439,900 list price

Less than 1% above list price

Costs $9,543 a year in taxes; $463 a month in common charges

A 577-square-foot prewar condo with hardwood floors, an eat-in kitchen with granite counters, a bedroom with French doors and a windowed walk-in closet in a non-doorman walk-up building.

31 weeks on the market

$435,000 list price

6% below list price

Costs $5,168 a year in taxes; $405 a month in common charges

Listing broker Triplemint


Long Island | 2 bedrooms, 2½ baths

This 36-year-old, 1,305-square-foot, townhouse-style condo has a living room with a stone fireplace, two walk-in closets and two decks in a complex with a pool and tennis courts.

17 weeks on the market

$499,000 list price

4% above list price

Costs $13,209 a year in taxes; $350 a month in common charges

Listing broker Douglas Elliman


Westchester | 1 bedroom, 1 bath

A 32-year-old, 774-square-foot condo, with hardwood floors, a pass-through kitchen that has granite counters, and a washer and dryer in a high-rise doorman building with a gym, indoor pool and pond.

21 weeks on the market

$389,000 list price

6% below list price

Costs $4,911 a year in taxes; $569 a month in common charges

Listing broker Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty


A 350-square-foot prewar co-op, with a bath, hardwood floors, two closets and a kitchen with stainless-steel appliances (but no dishwasher), in an elevator building with a doorman and gym.

14 weeks on the market

$325,000 list price

17% below list price

Costs $840 a month in maintenance

Listing broker Keller Williams

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