Transcripts released Wednesday by the New York state attorney general’s office detail interviews with the then governor Andrew M. Cuomo and 10 people who accused him of sexual harassment.
The complaints include Lindsey boylan, a former state economic development official who in December became the first to publicly impeach Cuomo, Charlotte bennett, former aide to the governor and Brittany commisso, a former executive assistant who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo in August.
Several people who held positions in the governor’s office also they spoke with the researchers, including a person identified as Kaitlin, whose story was described in detail by the magazine New York Magazine, Ana Liss, who worked as a policy advisor in his office from 2013 to 2015, and Alyssa McGrath, who was still in office when he gave his testimony in March.
The others were Virginia Limmiatis, an employee of the energy company National Grid who met Cuomo at a 2017 event, two state officials who were not identified and a police officer who was also not named.
The interviews were part of an investigation carried out over five months by outside lawyers who were investigating the complaints against Cuomo which led to his resignation in August. The transcripts offer a stark account of the testimonies about Cuomo’s conduct. The former governor continues to deny that he touched women inappropriately.
Here are some key moments from the transcripts:
“It was uncomfortable”
One of the main findings of the report released by the attorney general’s office in August was the account of a state police assigned to Cuomo’s protection team. His experiences with the governor – which he said included various instances of inappropriate physical contact– convinced many state legislators to call for Cuomo’s resignation. The transcript offered the first account, in the first person, of his complaints.
“He knew that I would be in trouble and not him”
Commisso, who worked as Cuomo’s executive assistant, accused him of groping her and touching her chest in the official residence of the governors of New York, the so-called Executive Mansion. Last month, Cuomo was charged with forcible touching of Commisso, but the case was called into question when the Albany County district attorney said the criminal complaint was “possibly flawed.”
In its statement, Commisso referred to the reasons why it did not initially report. In August, she spoke publicly about her allegations for the first time in a joint interview with the morning show. CBS This Morning and the diary Albany Times Union.
“This is what he wants, this he gets it”
Bennet, who was an executive assistant and health policy advisor during Cuomo’s tenure, said the governor repeatedly asked her about her sex life, preferences, and told her that he was single. Bennet had just turned 25 at the time.
Bennet has said that the work environment in the governor’s office was “Extremely toxic and extremely abusive.”
“It was well known that he prefers blondes”
McGrath had described a series of disturbing interactions with the governor, and had previously told The New York Times that Cuomo threw lustful glances at her body, commented on her appearance and made suggestive comments to her and another executive assistant.
In his statement, he described an emphasis on appearance and frank favoritism.
“His actions were not ambiguous”
Limmiatis told investigators that Cuomo touched her “inappropriately” after speaking at a public event. Limmiatis, who works for National Grid, an energy company, had lined up to meet him, and he was wearing a T-shirt with his company name on it. The governor “ran two fingers across his chest, pressing down on each letter as he did so and reading the name of the power company as he went along,” according to the attorney general’s report published in August.
“Then the governor bowed, his face close to Limmiatis ‘cheek and said’I’m going to say that I see a spider on your shoulder ‘, before running his hand over the area between her shoulder and her breasts (and below her collarbone), ”according to the report.
“I take phenomenal precautions”
Cuomo has repeatedly denied the allegations. During his about 11-hour interview with investigators this summer, Cuomo often adopted a confrontational tone and characterized the state attorney-supervised inquiry as one “research with political bias ”.
Karen Zraick is a general assignment and breaking news reporter. @karenzraick
Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Sarah Maslin Nir contributed additional reporting.
Copyright: c. 2021 The New York Times Company
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