ALBANY – Lawyers for Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday requested transcripts relating to the report by State Attorney General Letitia James confirming he sexually harassed several female employees, current and former, claiming they never had the opportunity to respond to several overwhelming inaccuracies.
Lawyers Paul Fishman of Arnold and Porter LLC, Mitra Hormozi of Walden Mocht and Haran LLP and Rita Glavin of Glavin PLLC held a virtual press conference on Friday to highlight issues with the attorney general’s report released on Tuesday. The lawyers’ 11-page response was released Friday evening and is available on the governor’s website.
Cuomo’s attorneys asked James’s office to provide a draft of the report several weeks ago, but they were turned down, Fishman said.
“We asked them to do this because we were concerned that there were things that were inaccurate, there might be things that were not sufficiently explored – things that could be included or excluded from the report that are right or unfair – and we wanted to make sure that those who were discussed had a chance to respond before the report was made public ”, Fishman said.
Lawyers for the governor received the report along with the public, including the press.
The notes of the 179 people interviewed, 41 of whom testified under oath, have not been released, Fishman said.
“After several women accused Governor Cuomo of sexually harassing them, the governor himself asked Attorney General James to oversee an independent investigation,” he added. Fabien Levy, press secretary and senior adviser to James, said in a statement Friday responding to Cuomo’s lawyers. “The independent investigators selected are highly respected professionals recognized for their legal and investigative capacity. Attacking this investigation and attempting to undermine and politicize this process takes away the courage that these women display.
“There will be an ongoing production of interview transcripts made available to the State Assembly, which will be redacted as necessary.”
Cuomo’s attorney has rebuffed several points of the attorney general’s report since it was released on Tuesday and its findings the governor sexually harassed at least 11 women with unwelcome hugs and kisses, surprising touches or groping, and sexual comments from increasingly suggestive, violating federal and state laws.
The report was released by former federal prosecutor Joon Kim and Anne Clark, a prominent labor lawyer. Top Cuomo aides questioned the independence of the investigation because Kim was involved in a 2014 investigation into Cuomo’s brutal shutdown of the Moreland Commission to investigate public corruption and led the case against the ‘Former Cuomo senior associate Joe Percoco, who was convicted in 2018 on corruption charges. and sentenced to six years in prison.
“I am a former federal prosecutor and I know the difference between building a case against the target and conducting an independent investigation with an open mind” said Glavine. “There has been no open minded investigation here in this investigation. This investigation was conducted in such a way as to support a predetermined narrative. “
Cuomo’s attorneys also disputed allegations on Friday of a current employee, called Executive Assistant No. 1 in the attorney general’s report, who said the governor slipped her hand under her blouse and cupped her chest. during a hug in the governor’s mansion last November. The staff member filed a criminal complaint against him on Thursday, according to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied that the alleged sexual assault took place.
Cuomo’s attorneys read various emails and documents from staff members from November 16, 2020 – the only day the Executive Assistant was in the mansion that month – saying the detailed schedules and correspondence do not corroborate the employee claims about when she was at the mansion, and show she joked with other staff and ate snacks on the first floor throughout the afternoon.
“When she first raised this in early March, (Governor Cuomo) was stunned,” said Glavine. “… My team and I went through the emails for that day. The documentary evidence does not support what she said, and what bothers me is that the two investigators did not show you this evidence – they ignored it. Ask them why.
Governor Cuomo will soon respond to allegations by a state soldier assigned to his personal security service that he ran his finger from his neck to his spine and said “Hey you,” while he was alone in a Capitol elevator, and claiming that he ran his open hand over the soldier’s stomach to his hip where she kept his gun, Glavin said.
“I can’t give you a schedule, but I know he wants to do it soon” she said.
Cuomo’s attorneys had no further refutation of the state soldier’s claims.
Cuomo’s attorneys said further evidence omitted from the attorney general’s report would invalidate allegations of sexual harassment made by Lindsey Boylan, the first former staff member to come forward in December two weeks after she announced her campaign for the president of the borough of Manhattan.
“There are 11 women whose accounts have been corroborated by a mountain of evidence”, said Levy. “Any suggestion that attempts to undermine the credibility of these women or this investigation is unfortunate.”
The attorney general’s report revealed that after Boylan first tweeted his allegations in December, the Cuomo administration sought to undermine his account by issuing memos. Investigators said the retaliatory release violated several laws.
Cuomo’s attorney denied the request on Friday and posted a 13-page legal analysis on the governor’s website explaining why the posting of the personnel records did not violate state or federal laws.
“What matters is that there is a very serious legal issue as to whether the attorney general’s office is right or not and this serious legal issue should have been taken more into account in the report,” Fishman said.
The request for an early draft of the report was not unusual, Fishman said, adding that it was common for investigators to provide this type of information.
Fishman has requested that transcripts of interviews with those interviewed in the report be made public.
Investigators responsible for the report acted as prosecutors, judge and jury, Glavin said.
Minutes after Tuesday’s press conference, state and federal lawmakers called on Cuomo to step down.
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay R-Pulaski had strong words for the disgraced governor and his lawyers who tried to publicly discredit Cuomo’s accusers and undermine attorney general investigators on Friday, said he declared.
“It would be shocking anywhere else, but it is unfortunate standard operating procedure for the Cuomo administration,” Barclay said in a statement. “The governor is in complete free fall. Today’s desperate attempt to offer more explanation and apology will not change his mind, nor change the course that ends in his impeachment. “
Friday’s media availability comes after a team of attorneys from independent law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP notified Cuomo’s attorney in a letter Thursday that the governor and his attorneys have until August 13 to submit evidence in connection with the impeachment investigation of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Every elected state and federal official in New York has called on Cuomo to step down since the report’s release, including President Joe Biden and United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Assembly Democrats have agreed to prioritize completing the impeachment inquiry as quickly as possible and removing Cuomo from office.
The resolution to impeach the assembly must be passed by a simple majority of 76 votes in the state legislature, which would force the governor to resign. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would immediately become Governor. A Senate trial would follow at least a month later.