Berkeley Brean, WHEC Staff
Updated: November 10, 2021 06:21 PM
Created: November 10, 2021 11:45 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York Attorney General's Office Wednesday released several transcripts and exhibits from its investigation of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct against former Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in and out of state government and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers. A 168-page report based on the findings was released in August.
The AG's office says it's releasing the documents based on a similar move by the Albany County District Attorney's Office, which said it had to release certain documents as part of the discovery process in the criminal investigation into Cuomo.
There are thousands of pages from 10 women who complained about Cuomo.
So News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean focused on the testimony that lead to the criminal charge against him.
That includes the testimony of former staffer Brittany Commisso.
She's the woman who says Cuomo groped her inside the governor's mansion last November.
In her testimony last May, she said if she complained about the governor's hugs she would get in trouble.
"So I took it," she said.
In mid-November 2020, in the governor's office at the mansion, Commisso testified the governor walked towards her.
"I remember him coming around and it was instantly like I could tell that when he had come around that, okay, it wasn't just going to be a casual hug, he really pulled me and I remember his hand just sliding right up my blouse," she said.
"This just like went from zero to 60 in 0.2 seconds," she testified. "It was so fast. I just remember stepping back and saying like, Governor, the door — I just remember, you're going to get us in trouble."
Commisso said Cuomo slammed the open door shut and quoted the former governor saying "I don't care."
Here's what the governor said in his testimony last July: "That never happened. Let's just — you know, at one point there has to be a little reality."
The governor said the mansion was full of family and staff.
"You've investigated me for six years. I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing. It would be an act of insanity to touch a woman... and make myself vulnerable to a woman for such an accusation," he said.
Earlier this week, Cuomo's lawyer Rita Glavin continued to dispute the AG's report but called on the office to investigate the Albany County Sheriff’s Department. Glavin, and Cuomo's camp, have repeatedly accused Attorney General Letitia James of conducting a "politically motivated" investigation. James recently declared her run for governor.
In the criminal case, Cuomo was supposed to appear in court on Nov. 17 for an arraignment, but that’s been pushed back to Jan. 7.
The office says it will begin releasing more evidence and transcripts on a "rolling basis" and has notified local district attorneys.
Rita Glavin, the attorney for the former governor, sent the following statement Wednesday evening:
“The Attorney General’s slow-rolling and selective disclosure to the world now of the 41 transcribed interviews (out of the 179 people interviewed and 74,000 documents collected) is obvious: The AG wants to prejudice people against the Governor while the criminal charge unilaterally initiated by Sheriff Apple is pending, and distract from the AG’s misleading and unreliable report. The Attorney General deliberately harms a pending case by broadcasting to each witness what other witnesses have testified to, and spreading false and salacious hearsay and rumors. No legitimate law enforcement officer acts like this in a pending case. Disturbingly, this has never been about fairness or due process.”
A spokesperson for the former governor released the following statement Wednesday evening:
“Finally — after three months for stalling — Tish James has been forced to release transcripts as more and more people are questioning her shoddy and politically motivated report. However, these transcripts include questionable redactions, and raise even more questions about key omissions made during this slanted process, which reeks of prosecutorial misconduct. This was clearly done to change the subject, but the attorney general needs to answer the following questions.”
In the Governor’s testimony he said directly to Joon Kim that Ibrahim Khan — the AG’s chief of staff— had been coordinating with Trip Yang and Lindsey Boylan‘s campaign and that it suggested collusion between James and Boylan. Other than to hide this obvious conflict of interest, why was this information redacted?
In the Boylan testimony, why didn’t they ask her about the fact that Liz Fine, current counsel to the governor, requested Boylan‘s termination for abusing staff?
Why didn’t they question Boylan about her texts to executive chamber staff specifically saying she would retaliate against the governor because “life is long and so is my memory and so are my resources” and “the future is coming after (expletive.)”
Brittany Commisso testified that the governor became more reserved after Boylan started tweeting attacks against him. Did James tell Sheriff Apple that the new date of her allegation, December 7, was after Boylan started tweeting and therefore inconsistent with Commisso’s testimony?
James said that she spoke to politicians in Albany for her investigation. Who are those politicians that James spoke to to inform her investigation and where are their transcripts?
James’ press release now says it was an “independent investigation." However, just four weeks ago James said that she personally conducted the investigation. Was she lying then or is she lying now?
Why didn’t investigators ask Charlotte Bennett about her activity at Hamilton College and her filing a false allegation?
Why did they omit the circumstances that caused the governor to talk to Bennett and provided the motivation for their conversation?
Why is James suddenly releasing the transcripts now after she said she had sent them to several district attorneys who are doing investigations?
Are the other district attorneys besides Albany not doing investigations?
"The more we know about this investigation the more we know what a fraud it was."
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