Attorney General Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit for Office Mishandling

ALBANNY — State Attorney General Letitia James dismisses a lawsuit filed against her and her office in December by a woman whose sexual harassment allegations against the Attorney General’s former chief of staff were substantiated by an outside investigation. I asked the judge to

The complaint, filed on behalf of James and her office in the state Supreme Court, alleges a woman’s allegation of forced kissing against Ibrahim Khan, the attorney general’s longtime chief of staff and close friend. A 2021 fundraiser that has nothing to do with the Attorney General or her office.

The woman, Sophia Quintanar, has worked as a deputy press secretary in James’ office since 2020. She left that job in July 2021. Her lawsuit seeks to hold the Attorney General and her office liable for employment discrimination and civil rights violations based on Khan’s alleged conduct. Khan, the defendant in the case, is accused of sabotaging her efforts to get a job in James’ re-election campaign about 10 months after the incident.

“The complaint does not allege that (the Attorney General’s Office) or James knew of Khan’s alleged conduct against (Quintanar), much less condoned or participated in it,” James said. The motion filed by the attorneys states: “The complaint also does not allege that it was aware of or played any part in considering its ‘indirect and informal’ application to (Quintanal’s) campaign.”

James is represented in the lawsuit by Davis Polk & Wardwell, a Manhattan law firm hired by the state legislature in March 2021. The law firm is leading the Judiciary Commission’s impeachment inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

The Attorney General’s motion to dismiss claims that an investigation was launched as soon as the office became aware of Quintanal’s allegations against Khan, which led to Khan’s resignation.

In December, however, Quintanar told The New York Times that the attorney general’s office had initially withheld information on the matter, but had allowed Khan to resign “with his reputation intact.”

Quintanar also told the paper that she believes the attorney general’s office has not handled her complaint as vigorously as it did when it pursued the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo two years ago. ‘s investigation concluded with a public report that concluded he had been repeatedly sexually harassed, prompting Cuomo’s resignation in August 2021.

However, in Khan’s case, the Attorney General’s Office initially refused to confirm that an investigation had taken place or that Khan had been accused of wrongdoing.

Quintanar’s lawyers allege that during the incident, Khan put his hand on her shoulder, “forced him to kiss her, and stuck his tongue down her throat.” They said she reminded him about his marriage and children, asked what he was doing, and she pushed him away with both of her hands.

“Mr. Khan ignored Mr. Quintanner’s objections and tried to forcefully kiss Mr. Quintanner again, but Mr. Quintanar had to back off to avoid him,” said the former. “Agitated and frightened, Ms. Quintana returned inside, hoping to be safe in the crowded hall. But Khan persisted, sitting next to Ms. Quintanar and whispering in her ear. and followed her.”

Quintanar then learned that Khan had been accused of alleged sexual misconduct and that those who knew him described him as “sketchy.”

“Mr Khan was suspended in October, pending an assault investigation, but the Attorney General’s Office went to great lengths to protect Mr Khan, and sought true allegations against Mr Khan’s rumors. and diverted coverage by misleading reporters about the reasons for Mr Khan’s absence,” Mr Quintanar’s lawyer said in an official statement in December. “Most notably, after the Attorney General’s Office allowed Mr Khan’s resignation and the Attorney General completed his first term in search of a job in the private sector, he naturally resigned. I argued that.”

Last year, the attorney general’s office initially refused to answer questions from the Times Union and other media outlets about Khan’s sexual harassment investigation. Attorney General’s) staff and associates (Attorney General).”

James’ office said an outside investigation into Quintner’s allegations would determine whether other women accused Khan of sexual harassment, or if there were more incidents, involving colleagues or individuals he had interacted with outside the office. It has not been clarified whether or not it was made clear.

Khan issued a statement three months ago, saying his resignation from the Attorney General’s Office “despite being unrelated to the investigation, no official misconduct in the workplace was found.” I am proud to have served the

James issued a statement that month defending her firm’s handling of the allegations.

“My office treated this issue as positively as it treats all other issues submitted to our office,” she said. Within 72 hours, we took disciplinary action, placed Ibrahim Khan under restraint, and within 72 hours engaged an outside law firm to initiate an impartial and thorough investigation of the allegations.”

Documents released by the Attorney General’s Office three days after The New York Times first reported the allegations show that Mr. Khan “provided the office with certain information and allegations ( ) relating to outside activities, (and ) may be related to an executive order.”

“[The Attorney General]intends that the investigation into Little’s case, together with the conclusions and recommendations rendered, will be subject to the prerogative of attorneys and clients,” the firm’s contract states. (Attorney General) agrees to protect all written communications relating to the investigation with a privileged and confidential label, and (Attorney General) agrees to circulate communications relating to the investigation to any person in need. I agree to limit myself to knowing those communications in order to fulfill their obligations.”

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed earlier this year by the Times Union, the attorney general’s office has no additional records, including reports, correspondence, or other documents related to Khan’s law firm’s investigation. claimed.

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