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Cuomo Backs Down on Plan to Pick Lawyer to Review Alleged Sexual Misconduct 

FILE - In this photo made from video provided by the office of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo, signs into law, June 12, 2020, in New York, a sweeping package of police accountability measures.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office backed down on its plan to choose an investigator to review sexual harrassment allegations against him, saying on Sunday it had instead asked the state's attorney general and an appeals court judge to pick a lawyer to conduct an independent review.

Cuomo, one of the nation's most well-known Democratic politicians whose popularity soared during the early months of the pandemic, has faced a string of controversies in recent weeks including how his administration handled high numbers of COVID-19 deaths in the state's nursing homes.

Cuomo's administration said it wanted the probe to be done "in a manner beyond reproach" after two former aides came forward in recent days to make accusations of sexual misconduct by the governor, which he has denied.

It said that on Saturday it had selected a former federal judge, Barbara Jones, to lead the investigation, but wanted now to avoid "even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics."

It said it had asked the Attorney General of New York State and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to jointly select an independent lawyer without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review and issue a public report.

"All members of the Governor's office will cooperate fully. We will have no further comment until the report is issued," special counsel to Cuomo Beth Garvey said in a statement.