The transcripts released Wednesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James's office provided in some instances the first time in which women who had accused former Gov. Andrew Cuomo of harassment and inappropriate behavior their own, unvarnished account of what happened.
Over the course of hundreds of pages, women who had worked in and around proximity to Andrew Cuomo detailed to investigators a culture of bullying, intimidation and fear in his office.
Many of the allegations were included in the report released in August by James' office: A state trooper testified Cuomo asked why she doesn't wear a dress to work. She told investigators earlier this year Cuomo greeted her by running his finger down her back. Aide Brittany Commisso details her groping allegation and Charlotte Bennett describes conversations she believed were part of efforts by the governor to have sex with her.
But the transcripts also highlight just how difficult it was to work for Cuomo. The trooper told investigators how Cuomo did not want cars to pass them while driving and didn't want to wait for an elevator, telling them, "If he gets there and the elevator's not there, that's a problem from a security standpoint, and also dealing with him, feeling the wrath of that."
In the interview, a woman identified as Kaitlin describes an unorthodox hiring practice in which she was given an informal interview and training after Cuomo noticed her at an event in New York City.
And she details how a group of aides in Cuomo's inner circle were known as the "mean girls" — a reference to the Lindsay Lohan movie about high school teenagers — by the governor himself.
"He called them the mean girls," Kaitlin told investigators. "That's not a name I gave them. And how they were treating me and how I was handling it and my reaction was you're not — you're not wrong, they're mean."
Cuomo has defended his workplace culture in the past when it has come under scrutiny, insisting it was a tough and demanding place to work given the stakes of being employed in the governor's office.
But witness testimony from those who have worked for him over the years shows a different environment.
In one instance, investigators asked Cuomo about his State Police security detail making a "spoof video" that mocked someone's weight.
In her interview, executive assistant Brittany Commisso told investigators she overheard Cuomo telling adviser Rich Azzopardi, "You're lucky that I don't throw you out the window."
Azzopardi on Wednesday denied that occurred.
"I had seen him be tough," she told investigators. "I had seen him raise his voice at certain people of his staff."
More broadly, Cuomo and his legal team have sought in recent months to push back against the more serious allegations he faces as he faces a forcible touching charge in Albany County.
Azzopardi released a statement that questioned why some parts of the transcript were redacted, suggesting it hid an effort by James' office to collude with one of the women who had accused Cuomo of harassment, Lindsay Boylan.
The transcripts of witness interviews were later compiled in a report detailing the allegations of 11 women, including Charlotte Bennett. She told NY1 in August the report vindicated their claims.
"In the sense that the report came out and it corroborated everything we had said in March, and in that sense, I'm happy," she said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has said a priority for her is to change what she has called a toxic culture left by the previous administration and has highlighted policy changes meant to end it.