Transcripts Shed Light on Cuomo Saga – NBC New York

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared pugilistic and paranoid at instances in an 11-hour deposition, made public Wednesday, denying the sexual harassment allegations that pressured him from workplace whereas ascribing political motives to the individuals investigating his habits.

In the meantime, in their very own interviews, his accusers detailed a “toxic” office within the Cuomo administration the place they mentioned they have been subjected to crude remarks, creepy questions on their intercourse lives, hazing and bullying.

New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James launched tons of of pages of transcripts Wednesday of interviews a crew of unbiased investigators did earlier this yr with 10 of Cuomo’s accusers, plus the governor himself.

The interviews, led by former appearing U.S. Lawyer for Manhattan Joon Kim and employment lawyer Anne Clark, targeted principally on the intense allegations towards Cuomo, together with a declare that he groped an aide’s breast after summoning her to his workplace in 2020.

However additionally they produced odd exchanges and provided a window into Cuomo’s confrontational type. Listed below are notable moments from the various hours of testimony:

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SHOW SOME LEG

A number of former staff testified intimately about Cuomo and different males on his employees talking in a demeaning and disparaging manner about ladies.

Brittany Commisso, the aide who mentioned Cuomo groped her on the govt mansion final yr, mentioned the governor would look her up and down and as soon as requested whether or not she ever had intercourse with anybody aside from her husband.

“He would make comments about if I wore a particular thing, how thin I looked,” Commisso mentioned. “That I looked good for my age and being a mother.”

“When I wore a dress, he would comment about how it’s about time that you showed some leg,” she mentioned.

When former aide Charlotte Bennett was promoted to be an govt assistant, she purchased heels to put on as a result of colleagues made it clear Cuomo anticipated it.

“It felt like we had gone back a few decades,” Bennett mentioned.

Cuomo mentioned he might have referred to ladies on his staffas “honey, “sweetheart” or “darling.”

“You know, one time in my life, ‘honey’ was a fine thing to say, ‘darling’ was a fine thing to say,” he mentioned. “It’s not anymore.”

Nonetheless, requested if he regretted something he’s mentioned to ladies within the office, Cuomo mentioned “no.”

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CUOMO’S SIGNATURE

In his testimony, Cuomo instructed he’d given his workplace supervisor the authority to signal laws into regulation on his behalf.

Cuomo mentioned Stephanie Benton might signal “virtually almost any document” that got here throughout his desk. Typically she used an autopen machine that replicated Cuomo’s signature. Or, she simply scrawled his title herself.

“I’m not asking about autosigning,” Kim clarified. “I’m asking about physically signing a document. Has Stephanie Benton physically signed bills for you, legislation?”

“She may have,”Cuomo mentioned.

Hours later, after prompting from his lawyer, Cuomo clarifiedBenton solely used the autopen machine when signing laws.

Cuomo acknowledged he didn’t take required sexual harassment coaching in 2020 or 2021, saying he was targeted on the COVID-19 pandemic. That contradicted what Cuomo informed reporters in Might, when he mentioned he’d taken the coaching “this year.”

The problem of his signature got here up when he acknowledgedit might need been Benton who signed his title on a 2019 kind affirming he had accomplished the state’s annual, necessary sexual harassment coaching.

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TESTY JABS

Cuomo was confrontational with Kim and Clark, saying their investigation was “biased” and “political.”

He complainedthat James’ choice of Kim was “a perversion” of what he mentioned was his situation that she choose an “independent reviewer” to guide the probe as a result of as a federal prosecutor Kim investigated Cuomo’s administration.

Cuomo additionally instructed Kim was a puppet for his predecessor as U.S. lawyer, Preet Bharara, and “his rabbi,”U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Kim principally kept away from responding to the assaults, however at one level he requested if Cuomo was searching for “negative information” about attorneys within the probe.

“Well, what are you worried about, Joon?” Cuomo mentioned.

Cuomo closed the deposition with one other jab at Kim: “I would like to say it was a pleasure, Mr. Kim. But I’m under oath.”

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“TOXIC”

Describing the tradition in Cuomo’s workplace, former aide Charlotte Bennett mentioned employees dreaded assembly with him and would typically be in tears afterward.

“It was controlled largely by his temper, and he was surrounded by people who enabled his behavior,” Bennett said. “… That mood and that anger, or that fear of him suddenly becoming angry, definitely ruled the office and then trickled down.”

The governor allegedly pounded his fist right into a doorin frustration, lashed out if telephone calls wouldn’t switch or if he didn’t look good in pictures, and one time informed a prime aide he was fortunate he didn’t throw him out the window.

“It just depended on the day and the mood he was in, but it was not uncommon for me to get in trouble for something ridiculous,” a former aide recognized solely as Kaitlin testified.

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“MEAN GIRLS”

Cuomo and a number of other former staff all testified a few nickname used across the workplace for his prime aides: “the imply women,” a gaggle that included his hard-driving prime adviser, Melissa DeRosa.

Cuomo testified he was conscious of the moniker, however dismissed it as a “silly gossipy thing” {that a} former male staffer got here up with. Cuomo additionally argued it’s sexist to painting profitable feminine staff as “catty.”

Bennett mentioned the “mean girls” have been a part of Cuomo’s efforts to instill division amongst his staff.

“Like his test is setting up someone in a position where they’re being abused by the people around him and not just directly from him,” Bennett testified.

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BRINGING THE RECEIPTS

When she was promoted to govt assistant, Bennett mentioned an outgoing staffer informed her she’d be anticipated to purchase Cuomo espresso and never be reimbursed.

Bennett offered investigators with 20 Dunkin Donuts receiptsshe mentioned she saved as a result of, “I used to be indignant and thought it was improper, and likewise simply wished a file of how a lot cash I used to be spending on this endeavor.”

Bennett mentioned the receipts, totaling $61.02 from Might 2019 to February 2020, mirror simply a few of the instances she purchased Cuomo espresso. She mentioned she’d often hand her bank card to a driver who would go choose up the order.

“I had an entry-level salary and I was spending money for the Governor of New York,” Bennett informed investigators.

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“DO YOU LOVE ME”

In his testimony, Cuomo denied Bennett’s declare that he as soon as sang The Contours music “Do You Love Me” to her.

“I don’t even know that song,” Cuomo mentioned within the July deposition.

In August, together with its investigative report on Cuomo, the lawyer common’s workplace launched a recordingof Cuomo singing the music to Bennett.

Within the recording, an ungainly second passes earlier than Cuomo realizes that the much-younger Bennett doesn’t know the music.

“It’s like, the ’50s,” Cuomo said on the recording. “It’s before even my time.”

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DEFINITION, PLEASE

Often, Cuomo appeared to provide his interrogators a tough time for sport.

Requested if it was true he informed a girl in his workplace she appeared like one among his ex-girlfriends, Cuomo went on to debate Kim over 4 pages of testimony in regards to the definitions of “date” and “girlfriend.”

“Do you understand what a girlfriend is?” Kim requested.

“Well, girlfriend means different things to different people,” Cuomo mentioned.

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Sisak and Beaty reported from New York.

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On Twitter, observe Marina Villeneuve at twitter.com/ReporterMarina, Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Thalia Beaty at twitter.com/tkbeaty and skim extra of the AP’s protection of the Cuomo investigation at https://apnews.com/hub/andrew-cuomo



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