ALBANY, NY – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to be interviewed Saturday, as the state attorney general’s office blows up an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse and tarnishes his national reputation and threatens to seize power as he prepares for election. Fourth term next year.
The timing of the interview in the state capital, Albany, was confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday by two people familiar with the investigation. They were not allowed to speak publicly about their case and did so on condition of anonymity.
Investigators were always expected to speak to Kuomo, who said at the start of the investigation in March that he would “fully cooperate.” Quimo is also facing an impeachment investigation in the state legislature.
Saturday’s interviews indicate that investigators have almost finished their work, including interviews with the governor’s complainants, although they will have to relax some time before their report is released.
Several female Democrats have accused Quimo of unwanted kissing, touching and grouping and inappropriate sexual comments.
Cuomo initially apologized and said he had received “an important lesson” about his behavior towards women, although he has since denied that he did anything wrong and questioned the motives of the accused and fellow Democrats who called for his resignation.
Kuomo, who has been in office since 2011, called for the allegations to be dropped.
Cuomo’s popularity has plummeted this year: about 2% of voters said Cuomo should not resign or be re-elected in a Siana College poll in late June. Nevertheless, supporters show that of 1% of Democrats in the poll said they have a favorable opinion in his favor.
Kuom’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, had a message left asking for comment. A spokesman for Cuomo said Thursday he had no comment. The state attorney general’s office declined to comment.
“We have repeatedly stated that the governor does not wish to comment on this review until he has cooperated, but the ongoing leaks are further evidence of the attorney general’s transparent political motivation,” said Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo’s senior adviser.
The scheduled interview with Cuomo was first reported by The New York Times.
Former associate Lindsay Boylan accused Cuomo of harassing her during her entire career and said she once offered to play strip poker on top of her state-owned jet.
Another former colleague, Charlotte Bennett, said Cuomo once asked her if she had ever had sex with older men. Bennett’s lawyer, Debra Katz, said Bennett met with investigators for more than four hours through Zoom and was provided with a 120-page record to prove the veracity of his allegations.
There was a message on behalf of Katz and Boylan’s lawyer and another Quimo accused, associate Alyssa McGrath, asking for comment.
The state’s independently elected attorney general, Letia James, is overseeing the investigation into the allegations against Cuomo. She has documented in a public report to former federal prosecutor Jun Kim and employment discrimination attorney Ann Clark to conduct the investigation.
Azzopardi’s remarks on Thursday were at least the second time that Cuomo’s top spokesman, James, has also made a democratic claim, and his investigation was politically motivated. Azzapardi did not provide evidence on Thursday that the attorney general had leaked the information.
In April, Azpopardi threatened James, and his office confirmed that Quimo was also investigating whether he had broken the law by assisting staff to write and promote his recent memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Epidemic.”
Azopardi said at the time, “Both the computer and the attorney general talked to the public about running for governor, and it is unethical to support criminal referral authority to further political interests.”
Some of Kuomo’s top allies in the state legislature have urged the public to wait for the outcome of James’ investigation and not to tarnish his integrity.
The Bronx Democrat Sen. Gustavo Rivera said he relied on independent investigators selected by James and said “their credibility and professionalism cannot be questioned.”
Rivera, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said the issue was “initially thought-provoking because the governor was so helpful in helping him become an AG that he would then respond to his political needs.” “Now he has repeatedly proven that he is accountable to the people of New York State.”
Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Democrat and chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, agreed: “Tish James is not letting anyone disappoint him.”
Majority Assistant Whip Sen. John Liu called Ayoparpi’s remarks a “common Kuomo playbook.”
“Obviously, there has been an attempt to reduce Quimo’s AG,” Liu said.
“This kind of comment, trying to intervene, trying to remove, at least trying to get involved politically – my reading about it is that people in the governor’s circle, including the governor, are the least nervous and the most terrified,” Liu said, referring to Queens Democrats, Gottfried and Like Rivera, Cuomo has called for his resignation.
This year’s legislature session is over, but lawmakers may return later in the summer or fall if the investigation is conducted.
Liu said, “I think Tish James is getting as good as he can, even if he is accused of politics,” Liu said.
The Judicial Committee of the State Legislature has launched its own inquiry into whether there is any basis for accusing the governor, ranging from sexual misconduct reported by his administration to the death of Kovid-19 among Nursing Homer residents.
It is also unclear when the Assembly investigation will be wound up, but it will probably be after James’s investigation is over. Boylan says he only wants to talk to investigators in the attorney general’s investigation.
Liu said the AG’s report and recommendations would “carry a lot of weight” with lawmakers.
Balsamo reports from Washington, DC Sisak reports from Port St. Lucy in Florida.