Former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett gave an interview to the CBS Evening News yesterday. Bennett walked through her story of being propositioned by Governor Cuomo during a moment they were alone in his office. If you’ve read the NY Times story you’ve heard most of this but there’s something different about hearing it directly from Bennett.
She says the governor started asking about her love life on May 15, 2020 and seemed fixated on the fact that she had been raped. That came up because she was scheduled to speak to a group of rape survivors. Bennett told the Times last week that was the moment when her view of Cuomo changed. She thought backward to his previous interest in her and started to think of it as “grooming.”
The key event happened a few weeks later on June 5. Bennett was called into Cuomo’s office to take dictation along with a second person. After she was done and the other aide had left the officer, the governor asked her to turn off her tape recorder. “And then he explains at that point that he is looking for a girlfriend. He’s lonely. He’s tired,” she said. She continued, “He asked if I had trouble being with someone because of my trauma.”
Cuomo went on to ask how Bennett felt about age differences in relationships and said he was fine dating anyone over 22. Bennett had just turned 25.
Asked what she was thinking during this encounter, Bennett replied, “I thought, he’s trying to sleep with me. The governor’s trying to sleep with me.”
Cuomo told the Times last week that he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett.” Asked if she could have misinterpreted what he said, she replied, “No, I understood him loud and clear. It just didn’t go the way he planned.”
Norah O’Donnell mentions in the opening that Bennett referred to Cuomo as a “textbook abuser” but that quote doesn’t appear in this clip. However, O’Donnell mentions there will be more of the interview airing “tomorrow” so maybe we’ll hear that quote on tonight’s CBS Evening News.