Saturday, November 27, 2021
HomeNewsPoliticsTranscript of Cuomo investigation interviews released

Transcript of Cuomo investigation interviews released

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/File

(NEW YORK) — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview over the summer he “wouldn’t be surprised” if somebody who worked for him at some point sat on his lap.

“I don’t recall anyone specifically. But, you know, I have people who have worked with me 14 years, 10 years,” Cuomo said, according to a newly released transcript of a July interview with attorneys deputized by the New York Attorney General to investigate claims of sexual harassment. “If somebody were to sit on my lap, you know, I wouldn’t push them off.”

Cuomo resigned in August after a monthslong investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James found he sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees.

The interview began just after 8 a.m. on July 17 in the governor’s Manhattan office. The 515-page transcript, which was released Wednesday, depicts Cuomo as standoffish from the start, sparring with attorneys Joon Kim and Anne Clark over their titles and reminding them of his potent political resume.

“I’m a former attorney general,” Cuomo reportedly said in the 11-hour interview. “I’m aware of the attorney general’s power. I’m aware of the special prosecutor power, independent investigator power.”

Cuomo was governor of New York for 10 years and previously served as the state’s attorney general. In all of that time of government service, Cuomo said he only recalled taking sexual harassment training in 2019.

“I don’t remember what years I did or didn’t take sexual harassment training,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also told the investigators he had come to believe some of the sexual harassment accusations were the work of political opponents who “have been part of orchestrating and resonating the complaints against me.”

“That’s what you think now?” Kim asked. “That’s what I know now,” Cuomo replied.

The investigation included interviews with 165 witnesses, including several of Cuomo’s accusers, including former New York Executive Chamber employee Brittany Commisso.

According to the transcript, Commisso alleged throughout her interview that Cuomo would hug and kiss her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable and that he made “inappropriate comments about her marital status.”

“His hugs definitely got closer and tighter to the point where I knew I could feel him pushing my body against his,” she alleged.

“I definitely noticed that when he would kiss me on the cheek, I took it as OK, he is being friendly,” she said. “Then obviously when he would turn his head and get me on the lips, it startled me. It obviously wasn’t normal.”

When asked about the allegations made by Commisso, Cuomo said they were “not even feasible” because he believed that his conduct was constantly under scrutiny, including by Kim when the lawyer served as acting U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.

“You’ve investigated me for six years,” he told Kim, referring to corruption investigations conducted by federal prosecutors during Kim’s tenure. “I would have to lose my mind to do some — such a thing. It would be an act of insanity to touch a woman’s breast and make myself vulnerable to a woman for such an accusation.”

Cuomo cast Commisso as the “initiator” of any intimate conduct.

“She was very affectionate. I would say more she was the initiator of the hugs,” Cuomo said, according to the transcript. “She said that she was Italian and Italians are very affectionate people. But she was a hugger.”

A state trooper on Cuomo’s security detail also said she felt “completely violated” during an encounter at the end of a 2019 groundbreaking ceremony for a new arena for the NHL’s New York Islanders

The trooper told investigators she held open the door when it came time for the governor to leave.

“And while he’s walking and we’re in motion, while he’s walking into the door, he takes his left hand and basically like thumb facing down, I felt the palm of his hand in the center of my stomach on my bellybutton and like pushed back towards my right hip like where my gun is. So he’s walking one way, his hand is running across my stomach in the opposite direction,” the trooper said, according to the transcript.

“And I felt completely violated because to me, like, that’s between my chest and my privates, which, you know, if he was a little bit north or a little bit south, it’s not good.”

When Kim asked Cuomo about the alleged incident in the interview, the former governor said if he did touch her, “It was incidental, and I don’t remember doing that.”

Cuomo also denied asking if he could kiss the trooper as she also alleged.

“Do you remember ever asking her on any occasion, ‘Can I kiss you? May I kiss you?’” Kim asked.

“No, I don’t remember that,” Cuomo replied.

A spokesperson for Cuomo called the investigation a “fraud” in a statement.

“These transcripts include questionable redactions and raise even more questions about key omissions made during this slanted process, which reeks of prosecutorial misconduct,” spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said.

Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee have been invited to Albany to review the report next week, Assemblymember Charles Lavine, chair of the committee, said in a statement sent to ABC News.

ABC News’ Luc Bruggeman, Celia Darrough and Soorin Kim contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments