State Attorney General Letitia James gave a new interview Wednesday night in which she slammed her former chief of staff, Ibrahim Khan, for engaging in sexual misconduct and said she’s considering making a referral to prosecutors to determine if he committed a crime.
James made the explosive comments on NY1, after first being confronted by The Post earlier in the day outside her Brooklyn home over withering criticism that she covered up the Khan sexual harassment case until after the Nov. 8 election.
The attorney general said she had not spoken to Khan since she was first made aware of the accusations made against him on Oct. 2.
“I’m angry because he was my chief of staff for ten years. I’m deeply disappointed in him and there’s no excuse for his behavior at all. None whatsoever,” James told host Errol Louis on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”
Louis also asked James if she would make a criminal referral against Khan.
“We will consider the possibility of a referral,” she said.
She also said she took issue with Khan’s statement that his Nov. 22 resignation was unrelated to the probe conducted by a law firm hired by the attorney general, which substantiated he engaged in sexual misconduct.
“At the end of the day, the bottom line is that the allegations were substantiated. Mr. Khan resigned, he’s no longer in the office of the attorney general,” James said.
“It’s a play on words. The reality is the allegations were substantiated.”
James was also asked about an exclusive report published in The Post in September of 2017 when she was the city’s public advocate. A former employee accused Khan, James’ chief of staff at the time, of drugging and sexually assaulting her, during a December 2014 holiday party.
She said she did not know about those allegations until 2017.
Asked why it took so long for those accusations to reach her, James said, “I don’t know.”
She said her office notified the Department of Investigation, the District Attorney’s Office as well as the Police Department and the Human Rights Commission about the earlier complaint leveled against Khan by former staffer Angel DuBose.
“Those allegations were unsubstantiated,” James said.
Her appearance also came just hours after Sofia Quintanar, a former deputy deputy press secretary in the AG’s office, told the New York Times that the married Khan grabbed her and “stuck his tongue down my throat” outside a Brooklyn bar in November 2021 — and ripped James’ office handling of the case.
Khan also allegedly groped another woman and kissed her against her will, according to the Times.
James clearly played defense during the NY 1 interview, parrying questions about why the Khan scandal was kept under wraps during the final stretch of the election campaign and whether the investigation was the reason she refused to debate her Republican opponent Michael Henry.
“I understand the appearance. …Rarely do we comment on an investigation. We won’t want to compromise the investigation,” she said.
She said protecting the privacy of the alleged accusers/victims was paramount.
James insisted her refusal to debate Henry was unrelated to the Khan scandal.
“No, not all. The reason why I didn’t debate my opponent was because he was a MAGA Republican who said some untruths with respect to my career and with respect to my performance as attorney general. And so I did not want to engage him,” she said.
Henry has called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate James’ office handling of the Khan case — something the Democrat governor rejected Wednesday.
During the NY1 interview, James said she handled the Khan investigation by the book based on a sexual harassment policy she established when she became attorney general.
She repeatedly referred to the timetable laid out by her office on Monday — first becoming aware of the accusations against Khan on Oct. 2, ordering him to work remotely and not engaging other workers on Oct. 3, and hiring an outside form to conduct an independent probe on Oct. 4.
She said Khan resigned on Nov. 22, before the investigation by Littler Mendelson was completed on Dec. 2 that substantiated Khan committed sexual misconduct.
James denied she protected Khan.
“We take these allegations seriously. That’s why we engaged in decisive and appropriate action,” the attorney general said.
“We did a thorough, independent investigation without a conflict of interest or any impropriety.”
She said when the investigation was completed, her team contacted the accusers to inform them that the allegations were “substantiated.”
James was asked about criticism from Quintanar, who told The Times, “I find it just appalling to see how the office handled this publicly.”
James responded, “I believe the individual in question. I took her allegation very seriously.”
Asked if the Khan scandal undermined her ability to push for reform in Albany, James said: “By no means.”