Charlotte Bennett, a former assistant to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, reportedly filed a discrimination lawsuit against Cuomo Wednesday, citing a number of awkward personal and professional encounters within him.
Bennett's Manhattan federal court filing also covers claims from a June 5, 2020 meeting between Cuomo and Bennett inside the governor's office, according to the New York Post.
The filing alleges that Cuomo made a crack about watching Bennett's COVID-19 mask move when she breathed, joking it reminded him of the monsters in the 1980s movie, "Predator," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In the filing, Bennett says she "laughed uncomfortably" at the comment, which then prompted Cuomo to allegedly respond with, "If I were investigated for sexual harassment, I would have to say I told her she looked like a monster," he said, according to the suit.
From there, the lawsuit claims that Cuomo repeatedly subjected Bennett to "humiliating" sexual harassment, and attempted to "smear her as a liar" when Bennett went public with the matter.
As part of the 60-page complaint, covering the apparent timeline of May 2019 to June 2020, Bennett alleges that Cuomo "subjected her to sexualized comments about her appearance, assigned her humiliating and demeaning tasks, and beginning in early June 2020, subjected her to invasive and unwanted questions about her personal life, romantic and sexual relationships, and history as a survivor of sexual assault."
The complaint continues: "Cuomo told [Bennett] he was 'lonely,' wanted a girlfriend who lived in Albany, and was willing to date someone over the age of 21 years old. ... Cuomo's comments and behavior were unwelcome and Ms. Bennett reasonably perceived them to constitute a sexual advance."
Included in the lawsuit: Former Cuomo top lieutenant Melissa DeRosa, along with two other governor's aides, who Bennett alleges "aided and abetted" Cuomo.
In a prepared statement, Bennett said: "My career as a public servant was abruptly cut short because of Governor Cuomo's and his top aides' sexual harassment and retaliation against me after I complained about Governor Cuomo's misconduct. They must all be held accountable for their actions."
Bennett's Wednesday lawsuit came one day after Cuomo reportedly filed a professional-misconduct complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James, along with the outside lawyers hired to investigate the former governor.
In February 2021, Bennett, then 25, became the second woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
She also informed The New York Times that Cuomo often asked "creepy" questions about her sex life, including whether she engaged in open relationships or ever slept with older men.
Back then, Bennett characterized Cuomo as a "danger" to women and subsequently demanded the governor be "immediately" impeached, after AG James released a report on Cuomo, alleging he had harassed Bennett and 10 other women.
Also, Bennett says she "promptly" complained to Cuomo's then-chief of staff, co-defendant Judith DesRosiers.
However, instead of "taking appropriate corrective measures," the suit claims DesRosiers transferred Bennett to an "inferior position" on Cuomo’s health policy team.
Cuomo, 64, resigned from office in August 2021, one week after James issued her report, saying that a fight to stay at his post would "cost the taxpayers millions of dollars" and "brutalize people."
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