ALBANY, N.Y. — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo conceded to investigators that he made lots of the feedback that led to sexual harassment accusations towards him, however he downplayed their significance and mentioned a few of them have been taken out of context.
“I do not have regrets,” Cuomo advised investigators, in accordance to transcripts from the probe launched Wednesday by state Legal professional Normal Tish James. “Look, when you may at all times state every part over, I am certain I might state issues — if I may restate every part I’ve ever mentioned to a girl or a person, I would say it in another way. However typically, no.”
The 512-page transcript was from an interview performed in July as a part of James’ probe into the quite a few allegations of sexual harassment towards Cuomo. It contributed to a report launched two weeks later that led to Cuomo’s resignation, a downfall beforehand unimaginable for a governor who was first elected in 2010 and reelected twice by substantial margins.
On quite a few cases through the interview, Cuomo acknowledged feedback that have been featured in James’ report, however mentioned they’d been interpreted incorrectly. Take, for instance, former staffer Charlotte Bennett’s allegation that the governor had in contrast her to Daisy Duke, the fictional character from the tv collection “The Dukes of Hazzard” and subsequent motion pictures.
“Yeah, I keep in mind her sporting jean shorts which, frankly, I assumed have been a bit of inappropriate within the workplace,” Cuomo advised investigators. “And I mentioned one thing like, ‘Oh, so what are you sporting Daisy Duke shorts immediately?’ Not that she would know who Daisy Duke was, as a result of I believe Daisy Duke should be, like, 110 now. However simply to register a bit of bit concerning the shorts, as a result of I assumed they have been a bit of inappropriate. However I did not actually need to say something instantly.”
Investigators additionally requested Cuomo about claims that he known as Bennett “Wings” since “her eye make up goes up.”
“I’ll have mentioned one thing like that,” he mentioned. However, he mentioned, he provides nicknames to plenty of folks: “I name Rita, my new good friend, ‘beautiful Rita meter maid,’” he mentioned in reference to legal professional Rita Glavin, who was sitting with him on the time.
He characterised his comparability of former staffer Lindsey Boylan to his former girlfriend Lisa Shields as “simply small discuss.”
“I did say to her phrases to the impact of — in simply small discuss, ‘You have a clone. Are you aware that you simply have a clone? An individual who seems identical to you.’ And — as a result of there’s a individual I do know who has an uncanny — for my part — an uncanny resemblance to her. And that was that,” Cuomo mentioned.
The previous governor additionally mentioned that an incident through which he demanded a female reporter eat a full sausage on the 2016 State Truthful was “taken completely out of context.”
“It was at a sausage occasion at a sausage store. However some press quipped that it had another connotation, sausage,” Cuomo mentioned.
However Cuomo continued to say that a few of the occasions his accusers described by no means occurred, together with Boylan’s declare that he requested her to play strip poker whereas on a state aircraft.
“That by no means occurred. I’ve by no means performed strip poker. I’ve by no means used the expression, ‘Let’s play strip poker,’” he mentioned.
All through the interview, he certified lots of his denials with lawyerly language, saying that he couldn’t be completely certain concerning the fact of his responses.
“I kiss on the cheek,” he mentioned when requested if he ever kisses workers on the lips. “There could also be an event the place a workers member kissed me on the lips. However I kiss on the cheek as a rule.”
Generally, he mentioned, the recipients of his kisses “have fallen to the Italian two-cheek kiss” or had “a peck on the lips.” He was requested if that ever occurred with a male staffer.
“I’ll have kissed a person on the lips,” Cuomo replied. “I am not going to say I’ve by no means kissed a person on the lips.”