Investigators grilled New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo for 11 hours last month as they look into allegations of sexual misconduct both in the workplace and at the governor’s mansion, according to reports.
The interviews under oath were led by former prosecutor Joon Kim, an employment lawyer, and got contentious at times, with Cuomo questioning Kim’s “fairness and independence,” The New York Times reported.
The investigation is nearly complete and a report to New York Democrat Attorney General Letitia James is expected in August, sources told The Wall Street Journal. That report will also be reviewed by New York state legislators in their investigations.
Cuomo has rebuked the political attack as he potentially seeks another term as governor, which could include a challenge from James herself, according to the reports.
The interview session came at Cuomo’s Manhattan office July 17 and included follow-up interviews with at least two of his accusers, sources told the Journal.
Investigators have also toured the governor’s mansion and the governors office in Albany at the state Capitol, where some of the alleged harassment under investigation occurred, sources added.
Cuomo has denied wrongdoing but did apologize for his behavior in making anyone feel “uncomfortable.”
Cuomo publicly shared “concerns” of the independence of the reviewers, a reference to Kim, who has been hired by James and has investigated allegations against Cuomo in his first two terms.
“Is this all happening in a political system? Yes, that is undeniable,” Cuomo said last week.
James has also denied the political motivations of the investigation, while not ruling out her own aspirations for governor. James has a big-dollar fundraiser planned Aug. 17 on Martha’s Vineyard, according to the Journal.
“The continued attempts to undermine and politicize this process are dishonest and take away from the courage and bravery displayed by these women,” James spokesman Delaney Kempner told the Journal.
Cuomo officials did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.
“It is obvious that attempts to demean the attorney general serve as well to undermine the investigation and send profoundly negative signals to witnesses,” New York Democrat Assemblyman Charles Lavine, overseeing an impeachment inquiry, wrote in a letter to Cuomo.
James lacks authority to issue criminal charges against the governor, but she can issue a referral, the Journal noted.
“I think many of us are eager to see this conclude, one way or another, and get back to the business of government,” Democrat State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who has called on Mr. Cuomo to resign, told the Times. “But this is the calm before the storm: I think, truly, we’re about to hit the gale force winds of Albany, and it’ll be something to behold.”