Innocent, Until Proven Guilty...Right?
By Danita Knickerbocker
The phrase “Innocent, until proven guilty” has slowly turned into “Guilty, until proven innocent” in this modern world of media and social media. People do not wait for the justice system to do their duty. Their first reaction is to scream “GUILTY!”, rise up in arms and call for blood. This reaction comes from both sides of the aisle and it is the type of reaction that is killing our society.
In regards to allegations of sexual assault/misconduct, there have been two major cases in the media over the last couple of months, involving two very well-known politicians. One from each side of the political aisle. Both were handled very much the same by the media, yet very differently by those accused. The first is New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. On Dec 13, 2020, Lindsay Boylan tweeted (1) “Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched.” Governor Cuomo released a statement saying, “I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has,” Cuomo said in December. “But it’s just not true.” (2)
On Feb 27, 2021, Charlotte Bennett made allegations of sexual misconduct against Gov. Cuomo via an interview with The New York Times, stating, “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.” Bennett told the Times. “And I was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.” (3) Gov. Cuomo then released a statement saying, “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm.” (4) The allegations against Cuomo kept flowing in with now a total of 10 women speaking out and telling their stories of times they felt sexually harassed or when alleged sexual misconduct by Cuomo made them uncomfortable. (5) On March 2, 2021, NY State Democratic lawmakers called for Cuomo to resign, threatening an impeachment investigation. (6) As Gov. Cuomo refused to resign over the allegations, an investigation was started and more and more politicians and public figures started calling for Cuomo to resign to be stripped of his executive powers. (7) With even Hillary Clinton joining the mirage of naysayers. (8)
Throughout these past months of allegations, Governor Cuomo has not offered one shred of evidence portraying his innocence. He has only offered his words of apology and denial, and that is precisely where these two cases differ.
The New York Times released a Breaking News story on March 30, 2021, alleging Representative Matthew Gaetz is under federal investigation for sex trafficking and a potential relationship with a 17-year-old female. (9) Before any other mainstream media platform could even get a story typed up about the allegations (10)(11)(12)(13), Tucker Carlson, with Fox News, had already set up and conducted an interview with Rep. Gaetz himself, asking for his side of the story. The ink hadn’t even had a chance to dry, when Rep. Matt Gaetz provided a more full picture of why these allegations existed. Rep. Gaetz named former DOJ official David McGee as having attempted to use these false allegations to extort him and his family out of millions of dollars. (14)
Rep. Gaetz revealed that yes, there is an ongoing investigation with the FBI and DOJ, but not into his relationship with an underaged female. Rather, the ongoing investigation is to uncover the motive and lay firm charges against Mr. McGee for the extortion of a member of the US House of Representatives. Rep. Gaetz explains how his family received a text message from Mr. McGee on March 16, 2021, “…demanding a meeting, wherein a person demanded $25 million, in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away. Our family was so troubled by that, we went to the local FBI. The FBI and DOJ were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of Congress, that they asked my dad to wear a wire, which he did, with this former DOJ official. Tonight I am demanding that the DOJ and FBI release the audio recordings that were made under their supervision and at their direction, which will prove my innocence and which will show that these allegations aren’t true. They are merely intended to bleed my family out of money.”(14) Rep. Gaetz goes on to explain how, because these allegations were leaked to the NYT, the investigation may very well now be spoiled. The FBI and DOJ may not be able to charge Mr. McGee with extortion now, because the exchange of money cannot now take place between McGee and Gaetz’s father. (15)
There is still no evidence to be seen, showing the allegations against Gov. Cuomo are either true or false, even after months of allegations and “investigations”. Whereas, within hours of the shocking allegations against Rep. Gaetz, there is already email evidence of the extortion investigation and the cooperation of Rep. Gaetz and his father, from correspondence between Gaetz’s father’s attorney and Goldberg, the Assistant U.S. Attorney. (16)