Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, has wanted to tell his side of the story.
On Saturday, he was expected to get a chance to do so and meet with investigators, although no confirmation was given by representatives for Cuomo or the attorney general’s office.
It was not clear where the interview took place. The state Capitol in Albany was quiet. No activity was observed for the most of the day outside of the Executive Mansion, a block from the Capitol, either, save for the occasional staff member entering the grounds and disappearing behind a gate.
Cuomo’s office did not release a public schedule for Saturday. Neither his office nor Attorney General Letitia James’s could or would say where the interview was taking place or if it was conducted through a video conference.
Later on Saturday, Cuomo, along with an aide, was spotted in New York City boarding a helicopter by The New York Post. He returned to Albany later in the evening.
Either way, the interview is a significant step in the investigation launched earlier this year by James’s office ahead of a highly anticipated report by Joon Kim and Ann Clark, the outside attorneys hired to conduct the probe.
That Cuomo is sitting for the interview, after investigators spoke with the women who have accused him of harassment as well as his top aides, is a sign the probe is entering its final stages.
“I do think that is what that signals,” said Sarah Burger, an attorney who specializes in sexual harassment law. “Typically you would wait until you were far along in an investigation before you interview the accused.”
The report on the allegations once the investigation is concluded could determine Cuomo’s political future amid additional looming challenges.
The Democrat, who has served in the office since 2011, has so far withstood mounting calls for him to resign from members of his own party, including most of the state’s congressional delegation and top lawmakers in the state Legislature.
The Democratic-led Assembly has launched an impeachment investigation that has drawn in additional controversies facing Cuomo this year, including allegations his administration undercounted where nursing home residents died during the pandemic, preferential testing for COVID-19 of those close to the governor and the circumstances surrounding his $5.1 million book deal about the crisis.
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing in all instances, though has apologized to anyone who felt uncomfortable following the spate of harassment allegations.
In recent weeks, Cuomo has said he is eager to tell his side of the story, and has flatly denied an allegation he groped a woman at the mansion in Albany late last year.
Despite the controversies over the last half year, Cuomo has maintained a base of support from Democratic voters as well as people of color. Most New York voters, polling has shown, do not support his resignation.
Cuomo’s office has also increasingly criticized the investigation being conducted under James’s office, calling it politically tinged and blasting leaks.
James herself has not commented publicly on the investigation, save for insisting politics stops at the door to her office.