NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday dismissed former Gov. Andrew Cuomo made repeated claims that the investigation into sexual harassment that led to Cuomo’s resignation was tainted with politics. James said that the Democrat “never took responsibility for his conduct.”
James spoke to a New York City civic organization and defended the August report of her office, which contained 165 pages that showed Cuomo had sexually harassed at minimum 11 women.
“Mr. Cuomo can have many opinions on these topics, but he’s never taken full responsibility for his conduct.” James, a Democrat, said that Cuomo has never been held accountable for his actions.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied deliberately mistreating women. He stated that he was not going to continue to cause turmoil in the state and that he was simply stepping down. He has been promoting opinion columns on social media, questioning the independence of the investigation, and suggesting that his ouster was a political orchestrated bludgeoning.
“This was politics. He said it in a tweet last Wednesday.
James’ office completed a noncriminal five-month investigation. It found that eleven women, both inside and outside of the state government, told the truth about Cuomo’s inappropriate touching, comments on their appearance, and suggestions about their sex lives. The report details the efforts of his staff to discredit his accusers.
James said, “Let’s not lose sight what’s important.” It’s not me. It’s not me, it’s the survivors of his harassment. He broke the trust of the people of our country. I am one of them. No one is above the law. The state of New York can be better in the future.
James compared the investigation she was involved in with one Cuomo led while he was an attorney general. Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 after a prostitution scandal.
She said that the investigation was initiated by Cuomo after Spitzer’s office had referred the allegations. It took five months and was led outside investigators. James claimed that Cuomo’s probe of Spitzer started without outside referral, took 20-days, and was managed within the office.
Her office will release transcripts from the interviews with the 179 people she interviewed as part the probe, she said.
James’ office has only released excerpts of the interviews. In August, the Associated Press filed open records requests for transcripts and audio recordings of Cuomo’s interviews. However, they have yet to receive these materials.
Rich Azzopardi was a Cuomo longtime adviser and spokesperson and requested the release of those transcripts as well as a video recording that James’ investigators made of the former governor being interviewed.
“It should raise serious red alerts that the AG, her staff, and every time questions are raised about inaccuracies or omissions in the AG’s report, they duck. The AG should give specific answers to the public about the credibility of her report, especially as she considers running for governor.
Cuomo’s attorney, staff and his assistant attacked James’ fairness in his report. They also claimed that records didn’t show one accuser’s claim of being groped at Governor James’ mansion.
James is considered a candidate for New York governor 2022. James gave remarks Wednesday at the event. She dodged a question about whether she would run.
Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.