New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office has stood by its report released Tuesday, saying Cuomo’s legal team denouncing the process behind it “attacked the credibility of women.” Separately, Cuomo’s attorneys have brushed off the first known criminal report from an accuser filed against him regarding allegations of sexual misconduct.
The governor has denied in testimony that he inappropriately touched the accuser, while facing mounting legal and political pressure, including calls for his resignation or impeachment from office.
During a more than hourlong virtual briefing Friday, Cuomo’s legal team attacked the AG’s report and the process by which it was released. Paul Fishman, an attorney representing the governor’s office, said James’ office declined to provide a copy of its report to Cuomo’s office and to “the people whose conduct would be discussed” in it before it was publicly released. Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin accused the report of being “conducted in a manner to support a predetermined narrative.” Glavin continued: “This was not an exercise in truth-finding.”
When Glavin was asked by CNN how accusers — including a state trooper on the governor’s protective detail — who are cited in attorney general’s report would be shielded from potential retaliation, the attorney said, “People are not going to be retaliated against by Governor Cuomo.”
Glavin told CNN she would have to consult with her client — the governor — to confirm whether or not the state trooper is still on the governor’s security detail.
Glavin also said that Cuomo will address the misconduct allegation from the state trooper, but did not specify when.
The attorney general’s office responded to the Cuomo team’s claims Friday, saying they “attacked the credibility” of the women who alleged sexual harassment against the governor, as well as the investigation into their claims, according to Fabien Levy, press secretary and senior adviser to James.
“The independent investigators selected are widely respected professionals, recognized for their legal and investigatory ability. To attack this investigation and attempt to undermine and politicize this process takes away from the bravery displayed by these women,” Levy said.
A “rolling production” of witness interview transcripts following appropriate redactions will be made available to the state assembly, he added.
Debra Katz, the attorney representing Charlotte Bennett — the second woman to go public with sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo — said Friday that the governor “has made clear he will continue his fight to stay in power, caring not at all about the people he has hurt and the consequences of his actions.”
The first known criminal report filed against the governor regarding allegations of sexual misconduct was confirmed to CNN by an attorney representing the anonymous accuser and a second source with direct knowledge. The Albany Sheriff’s Office told CNN they’ve scheduled a press conference for noon Saturday, where it’s expected they’ll address the complaint.
Albany County Undersheriff William Rice confirmed to CNN that a criminal complaint was filed by an unnamed accuser Thursday, but he did not go into details about the complaint. The governor’s office had notified Albany Police of the allegation several months ago. Attorneys for Cuomo are not concerned about the criminal complaint, according to a source with direct knowledge. “Not in the least,” said the source when asked if the legal team was worried about the complaint. “There’s no evidence.”
The anonymous accuser sat for an informal interview to discuss her allegations against the governor at the Albany Sheriff’s Office Thursday, her attorney said.
She was informed that the sheriff’s office and Albany district attorney were obtaining all relevant information from the attorney general’s investigators and will proceed from there, according to her attorney.
The woman, identified only as “Executive Assistant 1,” was among the 11 women who accused Cuomo of sexually harassing them, according to the AG’s report.
The woman testified, “And I remember thinking to myself who—I knew what just went on, I knew and he knew too that was wrong. And that I in no way, shape or form invited that nor did I ask for it. I didn’t want it. I feel like I was being taken advantage of…”
The report also detailed allegations that Cuomo made inappropriate comments about Executive Assistant #1’s appearance and personal life, including asking multiple times about whether she had cheated or would cheat on her husband.
The woman also testified that Cuomo would hug her and kiss her on the check, and, on at least one occasion in early 2020, kissed her on the lips.
The report says Cuomo denied any recollection of kissing Executive Assistant #1 on the lips and testified that he did regularly hug the assistant but claimed that it was she who was the “initiator of the hugs.”
Asked to respond Friday to the complaint, Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, would only say, “As we said previously, we proactively made a referral nearly four months ago in accordance with state policies.”
In a March statement, then-Acting Counsel to the Governor Beth Garvey, said that as a matter of state policy, when allegations of “physical contact” are made, an agency informs a person making a complaint that they should contact their local police department.
“If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation,” Garvey said in the statement. “In this case the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information.”
CNN reported earlier this week that Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ office requested investigative materials from James’ office regarding the report on Cuomo. Soares’ office on Friday said it will “not be confirming these reports, nor will any documents or information be disclosed and released from our office at this time.”
The attorney general’s investigation was civil in nature and James said during her Tuesday press conference that there would not be any criminal actions from her office that would follow. The investigators, however, said that Cuomo’s alleged behavior violated both state and federal law.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this headline and story misstated the employment status of the accuser. She is currently employed in the governor’s office. The story has also been updated with additional background information.
This story has been updated with additional information Friday.
CNN’s Mark Morales and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.