Westlaw News

Cleary's Joon Kim to co-lead Cuomo harassment investigation

(Reuters) - New York’s attorney general on Monday tapped Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Joon Kim along with Vladeck, Raskin & Clark partner Anne Clark to lead an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Kim became acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 2017 after then-President Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara. He rejoined Cleary in 2018 as a partner focused on white-collar criminal defense and internal investigations.

He’s weaved between government gigs and Cleary throughout his career. At the firm, he’s worked on high-profile matters including representing Nissan Motor Co Ltd in government probes over alleged misconduct by its former chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn.

Clark is an employment lawyer who joined Vladeck nearly 30 years ago. Neither she nor Kim immediately responded to requests for comment on Monday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement called Kim and Clark “independent, legal experts who have decades of experience conducting investigations and fighting to uphold the rule of law.

“There is no question that they both have the knowledge and background necessary to lead this investigation and provide New Yorkers with the answers they deserve,” she said.

They’ll be joined in the investigation by Cleary partners Jennifer Kennedy Park and Abena Mainoo and Vladeck partner Yannick Grant, the AG’s office said.

Five women, most of them former aides, have in recent weeks accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, including unwanted physical contact and inappropriate remarks.

The governor, who rose to national prominence in 2020 leading New York through the coronavirus crisis, has denied any misconduct and vowed to cooperate with the inquiry by James’ office.

He has acknowledged that it had been a “custom” for him to kiss and hug people when greeting them, and has said he was sorry for any behavior that made people feel uncomfortable.

Cuomo has turned to Elkan Abramowitz of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello as counsel in the matter. Abramowitz did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.