In Interview Transcripts, a 'Pugilistic and Paranoid' Cuomo

NY AG Letitia James releases transcripts from probe into sex harassment claims against ex-gov
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2021 6:43 AM CST
In Interview Transcripts, a 'Pugilistic and Paranoid' Cuomo
Then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington on May 27, 2020.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The 515-page transcript from an 11-hour interview with former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been released, and it shows an alternately defiant and aloof interviewee who denies the sexual harassment accusations against him. The documentation of the July 17 conversation between Cuomo and Joon Kim and Anne Clark, the attorneys commissioned to lead the five-month investigation of Cuomo, was one of multiple transcripts released Wednesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James, including those taken from interviews with 10 Cuomo accusers, per the AP, which describes Cuomo as being sometimes "pugilistic and paranoid" in his interview with Kim and Clark.

In his deposition, Cuomo addressed a variety of topics, including rebutting his accusers' allegations; whether he'd taken sexual harassment training (he said he remembered taking it in 2019); and his thoughts on the matter overall, with Cuomo claiming the accusations were a political hit job by opponents who'd "been part of orchestrating and resonating the complaints against me," per ABC News. Things also seemed to get personal between Cuomo and the two interviewing attorneys, with the then-governor claiming the pair's investigation was "biased" and "political," per the AP—mainly because Kim had investigated the Cuomo administration during his time as a federal prosecutor.

The New York Times details "six key moments" from the transcript of not only Cuomo's interview, but those of his accusers, including remarks from an unnamed state trooper who has accused Cuomo of "inappropriate physical contact." "He tried to be flirtatious," the trooper said in her deposition. "A lot of times, it came off creepy." Brittany Commisso, who worked as an executive assistant for Cuomo and alleged that he'd groped her, said in her own interview that she thought if she said anything in the moment or pushed back at what he was doing, "I knew that I was going to get into trouble and not him. So I took it."

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Despite the commotion, when asked if he had regrets about anything he'd ever said to women in the workplace, Cuomo told Clark and Kim, "No," per the AP. A Cuomo spokesman is scoffing at the transcripts and calling the entire probe a "fraud," per ABC. "These transcripts include questionable redactions and raise even more questions about key omissions made during this slanted process, which reeks of prosecutorial misconduct," Rich Azzopardi says in a statement. Much more from the transcripts here and here. (More Andrew Cuomo stories.)

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