Amid a growing number of scandals, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) now faces several accusations of sexual harassment from two female staff members and a third woman who did not work for him. Despite still denying kissing a former aide on the lips after a private meeting, Cuomo said Sunday that he is “truly sorry” to those who may have “misinterpreted [his actions] as an unwanted flirtation.”

A second staffer has since come out against Cuomo on Saturday accusing him of sexual harassment. According to the staffer, Cuomo asked her about her sex life and if she had ever had sex with older men. The staffer interpreted the governor’s remarks as gauging her interest in having an affair.

Cuomo’s apology comes while as a bipartisan group of New York lawmakers are calling for an independent investigation into the accusations against the governor. Cuomo’s own office selected former federal Judge Barbara Jones to head the investigation, but the choice was soon slammed by critics who said neither Cuomo nor his office should have any influence in the selection of independent investigators.

Special counsel and senior advisor to Cuomo, Beth Garvey, wrote a statement to New York Attorney General Letitia James and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore asking them to select “an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation” to conduct a “thorough review” and issue a report on the matter in an effort to “avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics.”

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James responded, “To clarify, I do not accept the governor’s proposal. The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral,” the Attorney General said. “While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) agreed with James in a statement Sunday. “These allegations are serious and deeply concerning,” said Gillibrand. “As requested by Attorney General James, the matter should be referred to her office so that she can conduct a transparent, independent and thorough investigation with subpoena power.”

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