New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was questioned by investigators in the state attorney general’s office for 11 hours according to a report by the New York Times.
The meeting, described by the newspaper as being “tense” at times, comes after months of an independent investigation led by New York AG Letitia James regarding former and current female aides who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and misconduct.
“The videotaped interview lasted about 11 hours, and Mr. Cuomo faced a barrage of questions under oath about his treatment of women,” the Times revealed.
A total of 10 women have accused Cuomo of some form of sexual misconduct, the most serious of which involved an unnamed female aide who said the governor groped her at the Executive Mansion in November.
James’ investigation seems to be thorough, according to the Times, with investigators having “gathered hours of testimony from the women who have accused Mr. Cuomo of improper behavior, from hugs and inappropriate comments to unwanted kissing and touching.”
“They have subpoenaed state records and collected emails, text messages and data from his staff’s BlackBerry devices,” the report adds.
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide, was the first to accuse Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct.
Boylan has claimed that Cuomo forcibly kissed her on the lips and suggested “let’s play strip poker.”
Her accusations kicked off a torrent of similar and more severe allegations, including one female aide who said the governor “had reached under her blouse and his hand was grasping one of her breasts over her bra.”
Cuomo has denied the incident occurred.
But, the New York Times says in their expose of the 11-hour session with investigators, “Cuomo could, in theory, face criminal exposure if investigators were to determine that there is sufficient evidence of a crime.”
Aside from being under investigation and questioned for 11 hours over the sexual harassment claims themselves, a report in June indicates state investigators are looking into whether Governor Cuomo and his aides committed a crime by retaliating against his accusers.
Of interest is whether or not Cuomo or his aides illegally released a personnel file on Boylan in an effort to discredit her.
“The governor’s office ultimately released to reporters some of Boylan’s personnel records, which showed complaints against her as a state employee, according to people familiar with the decision,” the Washington Post reported.
The New York Times reports that Cuomo and his aides have also been questioned on a “laundry list of subjects” including the state’s nursing home response.
Recently, the Department of Justice under President Biden decided not to launch a civil rights investigation into whether policies in New York contributed to pandemic deaths in nursing homes.
This, despite tangible evidence that the Governor’s executive order policy forcing nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for COVID-19 led to thousands of deaths.
Investigators are also interested in allegations that Cuomo provided priority COVID-19 testing for his family and associates using state resources for Cuomo’s $5.1 million book deal.
Cuomo has been accused of having aides write and edit portions of the book using state resources.
The Times indicates that the number of scandals plaguing the governor has actually helped him stay alive politically.
“The sheer volume of topics suggested that the Assembly’s inquiry may yet provide time to Mr. Cuomo, who most political observers expect will run again next year,” they observe.
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