NYT: Love Gov grilled for 11 hours over sexual misconduct complaints

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving pol, even if we have to wonder why we’re hearing this insider-ish account of the deposition of Andrew Cuomo at all. Last month, special investigators appointed by Attorney General Letitia James put the Lov Gov through the wringer for 11 hours over complaints about sexual misconduct. It sounds deeply unpleasant, which itself might come as good news to Cuomo’s accusers regardless of what happens next:

The videotaped interview lasted about 11 hours, and Mr. Cuomo faced a barrage of questions under oath about his treatment of women, posed by the two lead investigators hired by the state attorney general’s office: Joon H. Kim, the former prosecutor, and Anne L. Clark, an employment lawyer.

After months of gathering detailed accounts from former and current female aides who have accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment and misconduct, Mr. Kim and Ms. Clark were finally hearing from the governor himself.

There were tense moments: At more than one point during the lengthy session, Mr. Cuomo confronted Mr. Kim, challenging his fairness and independence as a result of his past investigations into the governor and his allies.

Few details have emerged from the meeting, which took place on Saturday, July 17; the participants are barred under state law from publicly discussing the interviews, but five people briefed on the encounter shared some details on the condition of anonymity.

That raises an interesting issue. If it’s illegal to reveal the what happened in the interviews, then why did anyone get “briefed” on them, let alone five anyones? The New York Times discusses some detail from the exchanges in the deposition, noting especially its combative nature and Cuomo’s accusation of bias. The only people in the room were the attorneys, presumably a court recorder, and Cuomo himself. Who else needed to be “briefed,” except James herself and the leadership at the AG’s office?

That narrows down the list of potential sources considerably, no?

The NYT points out that Cuomo and Kim have a long history:

As a top prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, Mr. Kim interrogated Mr. Cuomo in a federal investigation into the governor’s abrupt decision in 2014 to shut down the Moreland Commission, an anticorruption panel, according to three people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors ultimately closed that inquiry without bringing charges, but the investigation cast a cloud over the governor, dogging his re-election campaign at the time and raising suspicions about his commitment to rooting out public corruption in Albany.

During his brief stint as acting U.S. attorney, Mr. Kim was also involved in the prosecution of Joseph Percoco, a former top Cuomo aide who was convicted of federal corruption charges in 2018.

That does make Kim at least a noteworthy choice by James in this probe. She must have wanted to get under Cuomo’s skin, but it does also give a little credence to Cuomo’s complaint in this case. It’s tough to imagine that Kim was the only prosecutor James could have chosen for this assignment. James wanted to send a message, and now one has to wonder whether this leak from five “briefed” sources was intended to amplify that message.

Unfortunately, we do not get much more than that message out of this NYT report, other than the satisfaction of hearing that the Love Gov had to squirm for eleven hours. Most of this is just recap of Cuomo’s scandals, with detailed review of the sexual-misconduct allegations, but we don’t hear much about Cuomo’s answers to the questions asked. Cuomo later claimed that New Yorkers will be “shocked” when the final report comes out and they find out how this case was handled, so we can assume he remained defiant and denied all of the allegations.

As far as being “shocked,” Cuomo shouldn’t bet on that. The capacity for New Yorkers to be shocked at anything involving Cuomo dissipated long ago — for instance, when he got millions for a schlock book written and edited by his employees detailing Cuomo’s leadership expertise at the same time he was covering up thousands of nursing-home deaths caused by his order forcing those facilities to admit COVID-positive patients and staff. Hopefully, his next deposition will be in a criminal investigation over those scandals. If not, that would be shocking.