New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday released the transcripts and exhibits from the months-long investigation into the near dozen sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo that led to his resignation. Of the thousands of pages that served as supporting evidence in the case, the transcript from Cuomo's testimony alone was over 500 pages.
For 11 hours, Cuomo was grilled by investigators under oath, offering a glimpse into the final years of his administration that stretched over a decade.
Cuomo’s testimony at times was inconsistent, it revealed the way he treated his employees and also his view of the state’s sexual harassment laws.
The attorney general was authorized by Cuomo to launch an independent investigation into these accusations when the first few women came forward. Around five months later, the office released a detailed report which substantiated many of the allegations.
Cuomo announced his resignation a week later.
Toward the beginning of the interview with investigators, Cuomo is asked how sexual harassment complaints should be handled under the state’s newly bolstered sexual harassment laws.
Cuomo says once reported to a supervisor, only sexual harassment allegations should be investigated, implying that it is up to the supervisor to determine if sexual harassment really occurred.
Erica Vladimer, who is part of the Sexual Harassment Working Group, says this is exactly what the sexual harassment law was trying to avoid.
“We know all too well, especially up in Albany, that there are a countless number of not only enablers, but gatekeepers,” Vladimer said. “And those folks usually are supervisors. They are promoted to higher positions because those power abusers know they can count on them to protect them when they harm other people. And that's what we see here.”
Cuomo is also asked about his physical interactions with his staffers.
Cuomo repeatedly denied touching anyone inappropriately throughout the deposition, but admits there are times that his female employees have sat on his lap.
He also recounts times he kissed his staffers both on the cheeks, lips and even forehead without asking first.
“Just as a greeting, appreciation, thank you,” Cuomo says about the kisses on the forehead.
When asked specifically how many times he has kissed his employees on the lips, Cuomo says he did not remember.
“My intent is to kiss you on the cheek. Then it becomes, you know, sometimes maybe it's accidental or maybe sometimes people just want to do a peck on the lips,” Cuomo says in the transcripts.
There were also a few inconsistencies within Cuomo’s testimony.
For example, he denied that he sang the song “Do you Love Me” to one of his accusers, Charlotte Bennett.
However included in the evidence handed over on Wednesday, is a recording of Cuomo singing the exact song he claimed he has never heard.
“Do you love me,” sings Cuomo to Bennett. “You don’t know that song.”
“No it’s before my time,” Bennett said.
Another example is when Cuomo said he knew his top press aides were speaking with counsel when Lindsey Boylan first came out on Twitter accusing him of sexual harassment, but he claims he didn’t know what they were speaking about.
It wasn’t until after Lindsey Boylan’s personnel records from when she worked for Cuomo were released to reporters, did he say he found out about the documents and his press team’s decision to release it.
Cuomo also brought up President Joe Biden, repeatedly invoking Biden’s name attempting to compare the sexual harassment allegations against him to those against President Joe Biden.
“That's what Biden did,” Cuomo said about his decision to have former female employees sign on to a statement of support. “That's what other politicians have done in this circumstance. I thought that was an effective vehicle."
During the 2020 campaign, Biden was accused of sexual misconduct by a former staffer in his Senate office. Biden also called on Cuomo to resign after the attorney general’s report was released.
The 515-page transcript also painted a picture of a combative Cuomo, who would interrupt and often answer a question from investigators with a question of his own.
“This is a biased political investigation as we know,” Cuomo said at one point. “That’s what it is.”
During the interview, Cuomo was asked if he had any regrets with the way he treated or interacted with women.
“I have no regrets.”