After months of investigation, New York AG Letitia James released her report on Gov. Cuomo’s behavior Tuesday, accusing him of sexually harassing multiple women and creating a “toxic” workplace. Today, one of Cuomo’s attorneys offered a lengthy rebuttal of the report on Zoom. Attorney Rita Glavin got off to a rough start when the Zoom call went down for about three minutes soon after she started speaking. Once the call resumed, she accused the AG of failing to consider evidence that contradicted a “pre-determined narrative.” “The investigators acted as prosecutors, judge, and jury,” Rita Glavin said.
Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin (after her Zoom problem was fixed): "There has been no open-minded fact finding in this case. The investigation was conducted to support a predetermined narrative…The investigators acted as prosecutors, judge and jury." pic.twitter.com/m6muIJwnE3
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 6, 2021
Then Glavin said she would offer three examples of flaws in the report, starting with the claims made by the unnamed accuser the reporter refers to as Executive Assistant #1 (EA1). “What she has alleged is perhaps the most significant allegation against the governor,” Glavin said. She then encouraged people to go back and read EA1’s first interview on the subject from April.
“What she tells the Times Union is that she arrived, she walked into the governor’s 2nd floor office where he slammed the door, groped her breast under her shirt over her bra and then she left because she was so upset,” Glavin said. She then claimed that after looking at the evidence herself, “this woman’s story which is stated as fact in the report is false.”
Glavin posted a timeline showing that EA1 had been at the mansion from about noon until 2:47 pm. During that time she received an email at 2:16 pm asking how things were going at the mansion. She replied, “pretty good right now actually…carol just came through with some cheese and crackers, so I’m happy now.” Here’s the last slide of Glavin’s timeline:
According to Glavin, this is completely different from EA1’s account of what happened. However, I notice that Glavin is assuming that the initial report described a visit to the mansion that only lasted minutes. I’m not sure that’s accurate. Here’s what the Times Union reported: [emphasis added]
She walked to her car parked at the Capitol and drove a short distance to the governor’s mansion. In a recent interview with the Times Union — her first public statements on the matter — she described what happened when she reached the office on the second floor: The governor came out from behind his desk, and began groping her in a sexually aggressive manner.
Glavin is assuming that EA1 arrived at the mansion and went immediately to the Governor’s private office on the second floor and then left. Frankly the original story is a little vague but it doesn’t actually say that. Glavin is also side-stepping the account that appears in the AG’s report which is a bit more clear: [emphasis added]
On November 16, 2020, Stephanie Benton, the Director of the Governor’s Offices, asked Executive Assistant #1 to assist the Governor at the Executive Mansion. The Blackberry PIN
messages that the PSU uses to announce visitors to the Executive Mansion confirm that Executive Assistant #1 was called to the Executive Mansion and arrived there on November
16. As Executive Assistant #1 finished her assignment and prepared to leave the Governor’s personal office, on the second floor in the Mansion, and return to the Capitol, the Governor pulled Executive Assistant #1 in for a close hug.
So the AG report is not claiming she was only there a few moments that day. It’s saying this happened as she was finishing her assignment. And it’s worth noting that the AG’s investigators found EA1’s story more credible and specific than the Governor’s vague denials:
We found Executive Assistant #1 to be credible both in demeanor and in the substance of her allegations. The experiences she had with the Governor were difficult for her to recount, but she did so with care and seriousness. She testified about what she could recall with specificity and she credibly noted things that she did not recall. She did not overstate or seek to exaggerate the allegations, but simply recounted the incidents she remembered. Her reaction to the March 3, 2021 statement by the Governor that he had never touched anyone inappropriately was one that her colleagues observed and one that corroborates her testimony that the Governor had in fact touched her inappropriately. Executive Assistants #2 and #3 believed she was credible and corroborated her reaction to the Governor’s March 3, 2021 public statement responding to the sexual harassment allegations. Executive Assistant #1’s allegations about conversations about her personal life, marital status, and finding the Governor a girlfriend are consistent with the experiences of many other witnesses, including other complainants, and many of her interactions with the Governor are independently corroborated by text exchanges with and the testimony of Ms. McGrath.
Governor Cuomo denied a number of Executive Assistant #1’s allegations, but we found that his denials lacked persuasiveness, were devoid of detail, and were inconsistent with many witnesses’ observations of his behavior toward Executive Assistant #1 and other women in the Executive Chamber. In particular, we found that the Governor’s testimony that Executive Assistant #1 was the one who offered personal information about herself without prompting and that she was the “initiator” of the close hugs—and that he was “more in the reciprocal business” of returning such hugs220—was not credible, based on a multitude of witnesses, including the Governor himself and members of his senior staff, who reported numerous instances in which the Governor initiated physical contact with another person or asked personal questions without prompting.
Here’s the full response from Cuomo’s attorneys including Glavin. Skip in about 20 minutes if you want to get to the part about EA1.