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AG Probe On Cuomo Sexual Harassment Charges Could Be Nearing Its End

New York Attorney General Letitia James
Richard Drew
New York Attorney General Letitia James

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to be interviewed Saturday by the state’s Attorney General about allegations from multiple women that he sexually harassed them.

The news, first reported in the New York Times, indicates that AG Letitia James’ investigation, launched in March, is reaching a new and critical phase. Several women who are accusing the governor of harassment, and in one case sexual assault, have already been interviewed by investigators, according to their attorneys. And top aides to Cuomo have also been questioned.

The governor’s account of the events will now be weighed against the depositions from the other witnesses.

Cuomo denies the charges, and when he was first accused in late winter apologized if his actions had been misinterpreted.

“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said on March 3. “It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly, I am embarrassed by it.”

Since then, Cuomo has been increasingly defiant. He predicted that the Attorney General’s report will exonerate him.

“The report can’t say anything different because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Cuomo said on April 26.

Cuomo has said he’s the victim of “cancel culture,” and he and his aides have also questioned whether James is motivated by politics, saying she might be trying to run for governor.

In response to the news about the planned interrogation of Cuomo, a spokesman for the governor, Rich Azzopardi, said the governor is cooperating willingly, but has made it a policy not to comment on the details of the probe until it’s over. But he said the media reports cast doubt on the AG’s intentions.

“We have said repeatedly that the Governor doesn’t want to comment on this review until he has cooperated, but the continued leaks are more evidence of the transparent political motivation of the Attorney General’s review,” Azzopardi said.

James has not said whether she will run for Cuomo’s seat. The current governor, and his elected predecessor, Eliot Spitzer were both Attorneys General first.

A Republican who is a declared candidate for governor, Rob Astorino, said the public should know the parameters of Cuomo’s deposition.

“What’s off limits, what was agreed to, will he be under oath?” asked Astorino. “The public has a right to know.”

Astorino, a former Westchester County executive, lost to Cuomo in 2014.

The Attorney General is also looking into accusations that the governor used staff to help him write and edit a memoir on the COVID-19 pandemic, for which he was paid $5.1 million dollars. James was asked about the probes recently and said she has not set a timetable for finishing the investigations.

“It will conclude when it concludes,” James said on June 24.

The questioning of Cuomo means that the probes will be likely be done sooner than later.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.