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Saturday, March 25, 2023

AG releases transcripts of interviews in Cuomo harassment probe

ALBANY, NY (AP) — New York’s attorney general released hundreds of pages of transcripts Wednesday of interviews conducted during an investigation into sexual assault allegations that forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo from office last summer.

These include interviews with 10 women who accused Cuomo of misconduct, as well as interviews that Cuomo gave on July 17 to independent investigators appointed by Attorney General Letitia James.

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During his lengthy interrogation, Cuomo denied several allegations, said he was careful how he treated women and said that many of his accusers had misrepresented him. He also shrugged off an allegation of a groping by an aide, Brittany Comiso, who said Democrats pulled her over and grabbed her breast in the governor’s mansion.

Cuomo, 63, said it would be “not even possible” for him to do so, especially since he believed his conduct was constantly being investigated by enemies, including a lawyer, who investigated him. Former acting US Attorney Jun Kim.

“You’ve investigated me for six years,” he told Kim, referring to a corruption investigation conducted by federal prosecutors during Kim’s tenure in which one of Cuomo’s close friends was jailed. “I would have to lose my mind to do something – something like that. Touching a woman’s breast and sensitizing a woman myself to such an allegation would be an act of insanity.”

“Many people have tried to set me up,” Cuomo said. “I’m always wary of people. I have unprecedented precautions. It would be an act of madness.”

Late last month, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo over allegations of groping by the commisso.

In his interviews with investigators, Comiso said that working in the governor’s office was a “dream”, they quipped about his appearance, called him “honey” and asked him about his sex life. She said that while she wore a dress instead of pants to work, Cuomo said it was “about time you showed some leg.”

She described the alleged attack on the governor’s mansion, saying that when she pushed Cuomo away, she worried that she would get into trouble if he slapped her or made a scene.

She said, “I will be taken by state police officers and I will be the one who gets in trouble and loses my job, not me.”

Cuomo announced his resignation on August 10, a week after James released a report that said Cuomo had sexually assaulted at least 11 women.

Investigators said the then governor kissed and touched several women without their consent, made inappropriate remarks about their looks and created a work environment “full of fear and intimidation.”

Cuomo denied harassing any of the women, saying that her behavior, while sometimes “too familiar” was used against her in a political climate where “propriety has replaced rationality.”

Public broadcast of harassment complaints began in December 2020 when Lindsay Boylan, an aide to Cuomo, accused the governor of sexual harassment “over the years” in a series of tweets.

Other accused cited in the report include a state soldier assigned Cuomo’s description and an energy company worker who said Cuomo ran his fingers on the lettering running on his shirt’s chest when he met in a rope line in 2017.

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