Ed already wrote about a portion of Cuomo’s video response to the report issued today by AG Letitia James. I wanted to highlight another segment of the 15 minute video where Cuomo flatly denies the allegations of groping made by an unnamed staffer who is referred to in the report as Executive Assistant #1.
If you missed this part of the report, I included excerpts from it here but very briefly this accuser says that Cuomo repeatedly touched her including putting his hand on her rear end while they were taking photos and once sliding his hand up her blouse and groping her breast.
In his response today, Cuomo specifically denied that allegation. “There is another complaint I want to address from a woman in my office who said that I groped her in my home office,” he said. He continued, “Let me be clear, that never happened. She wants anonymity and I respect that so I am limited in what I can say.
“Her lawyer has suggested that she will file a legal claim for damages. That will be decided in a court of law. Trial by newspaper or biased reviews are not the way to find the facts in this matter. I welcome the opportunity for a full and fair review before a judge and a jury because this just did not happen.”
This is a pretty remarkable change from March when Cuomo advised people to “wait for the facts” that would be forthcoming in the AG’s report:
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Mr. Cuomo said during an appearance at the State Capitol. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it and frankly, I’m embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
Mr. Cuomo’s comments, while meant to convey contrition, may also be a play for time: He asked for people “to wait for the facts” to emerge from an investigation by the state attorney general, Letitia James. That inquiry could take several months; if Mr. Cuomo seeks a fourth term next year, potential challengers may have less time to prepare campaigns…
“I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts of the attorney general report before forming an opinion,” Mr. Cuomo said on Wednesday.
He continued by saying, “Get the facts please before forming an opinion and the attorney general is doing that review. I will fully cooperate with it and they you will have the facts. And make a decision when you know the facts.”
That was March 3 and Cuomo said the AG’s report would contain the facts. Now here we are five months later and Cuomo is now calling the AG report a “biased review” and saying if people really want the facts they need to wait for a jury to decide. Presumably if the case does go to trial and he loses, he will then ask people not to believe the biased jury but to wait for the result of the appeal. I’m getting a strong Michael Avenatti vibe from the Governor today.
Here’s video of both statements so you can see them back to back. First up is what he said in March about waiting for the facts.
And here’s what he said today about not believing the AG’s report.