Attorney general releases transcripts from Cuomo harassment probe
New York Attorney General Letitia James' office has started a rolling release of transcripts and corresponding exhibits from the sexual harassment investigation into former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
James' office says multiple district attorney offices originally requested the office refrain from publicly releasing transcripts and evidence as decisions were made whether to file criminal charges against Cuomo. After a criminal complaint was filed against Cuomo on Oct. 28, James' office says it was informed the DA would begin publicly releasing evidence to comply with state discovery laws.
James' office released hundreds of pages of transcripts and exhibits. The materials come more than four months after James published a report that she says proved Cuomo sexually harassed at least 10 women, including current and former state employees.
Investigators questioned Cuomo for nearly 11 hours about his behavior toward women and the alleged unprofessional work environment in his office.
One incident in the evidence describes when Cuomo attended a groundbreaking ceremony at the Islanders' new home at Belmont Park - a female state trooper, who was part of his security detail, accused the former governor of touching her inappropriately.
MORE: Read the documents here
Trooper No. 1 outlines a situation that she says played out in an elevator, in which the governor allegedly touched her bellybutton and pushed back toward her right hip. She goes on to tell investigators, "I felt like completely violated because to me, like that's between my chest and my privates, which, you know, if he was a little bit north or a little bit south, it's not good."
Keith Scott, the executive director of Safe Center Long Island, says he's hopeful the release of these documents will send a message.
"Hopefully the survivors hear this and know they are finally being heard," says Scott.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied ever touching anyone inappropriately, but investigators say the former governor had kissed and touched multiple women without their consent.
Touro College law professor Richard Klein says the lesson is for people to keep their distance, to watch what they say better and not to kiss anyone on the cheek.
James, a Democrat, recently announced her candidacy for governor. The testimony of the 10 women whose allegations were the basis of the investigation has also been released.
A spokesperson for former Gov. Cuomo reacted to the release of transcripts saying, "'Tish James have 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."
Klein says while James may be making gains politically, it doesn't mean she made anything up.
Two of the alleged victims sent a statement to News 12 saying the materials prove Cuomo's repeated and inappropriate behavior is a violation of New York's discrimination laws.