New York attorney general sued after former adviser’s #MeToo exit

A woman who accused a former top adviser to the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, of unwanted kisses filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging the Democrat and his office ignored previous warnings about his behavior.

Sofia Quintanar, a political consultant and former deputy press secretary in James’s office, alleges former chief of staff Ibrahim Khan pushed his face in front of his and ‘stuck his tongue down his throat’ as they argued outside a political fundraiser in Brooklyn. bars last year.

Khan resigned on December 2, about two months after Quintanar filed his first complaint with the attorney general’s office about his behavior. He denied wrongdoing.

In his lawsuit, Quintanar alleges that James and his office knew Khan had a “propensity for sexual harassment and sexual assault” and were negligent in hiring and supervising him.

Quintanar had previously credited James’ office for acting quickly after reporting the incident, telling the New York Post last week that his problem “was never with Attorney General Letitia James or the way the investigation proceeded. been conducted”.

A message seeking comment was left for Khan’s attorney.

James’ office said in a statement that it “takes the allegations brought to our office seriously and is committed to decisive, prompt and appropriate action.”

Khan had been one of James’ closest confidantes for nearly a decade, since his successful campaign for New York’s public advocate in 2013. The allegations against him are a rare crisis for the Democrat. Last year, James oversaw a sexual harassment investigation that led to the resignation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. After that, she briefly ran for governor before opting for re-election. Some Cuomo allies and state Republicans now want her investigated.

After Quintanar reported Khan’s alleged forced kiss during James’ re-election campaign in October, the attorney general’s office hired a law firm to investigate his allegations and the claims of another woman who had already worked for James.

Khan was told to stay home during the investigation, which began in the final weeks of James’ successful re-election campaign. In a November 22 memo, Khan wrote that he would be leaving for a private sector job at the end of the year, but left immediately once the allegations were substantiated.

Quintanar, in his lawsuit, suggests that James’ office was covering up for Khan – telling reporters he was on holiday or visiting an ailing relative while he was under investigation – and trying to give him a smooth exit.

The lawsuit was filed in state court under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which temporarily sets time limits for adults who have been sexually assaulted to file lawsuits. His attorney, Douglas Wigdor, explained it was done because the charges say the assault happened just beyond the one-year statute of limitations.

Quintanar said she was torn about exposing Khan and waited nearly a year to do so because she feared he was using his power to harm her career. Ultimately, she says, Khan used his power against her by preventing her from getting a job as a communications strategist for James’s campaign. This, she says, prompted her to come forward.

Quintanar alleges Khan assaulted her in November 2021 when James and other prominent Brooklyn Democrats were inside the bar attending a political fundraiser.

Quintanar said she went to the event, in part because she was looking for a new job after helping Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown get re-elected and hoped to connect with people who could help find her. work. She was not working for James or his campaign at the time.

After Khan started kissing her, Quintanar said she pushed Khan away, asking, “Aren’t you married?” and “You don’t have children?” What are you doing?”

Quintanar said a political contact later told her Khan had an “incomplete” reputation and alerted her to an earlier allegation, in a since-deleted New York Post article, that he had drugged and sexually assaulted a woman at a party while working at the Public Advocate’s Office in 2017.

The Post, in a recent article, said the previous story was deleted because the accuser “did not actually identify Khan as the person who drugged and assaulted her, and said that she had no memory of the identity of the attacker.”

The New York Times reported that the allegation detailed in the Post article had been investigated by both the Manhattan District Attorney and a city watchdog, but no of the two had not filed a complaint.

Quintanar said she filed the lawsuit in hopes of increasing “the visibility and strength of women of color having a voice in the #MeToo movement.”

“We are less likely to come forward in these situations because those in positions of power have always thought of us less,” Quintanar said. “Although I fear the effect this could have on my career, I know that fear should never be the way to do what is right.

James released a statement last week defending her office’s handling of the case, saying she was “confident in the steps that have been taken to expeditiously review the allegations and in the integrity of the investigation.”

“I thank the women who have come forward and want to assure them that they have been heard and that I believe them,” James said.

The AP generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they grant permission, as Quintanar did.

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On Twitter, follow Michael Sisak at http://twitter.com/mikesisak and send confidential tips by visiting https://www.ap.org/tips/

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