The New York state Assembly Judiciary Committee seems to be wrapping up its investigation into former Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the state attorney general’s office on Wednesday released thousands of pages of transcripts from their own independent investigation into the former governor.
The chair of the Committee, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, is calling members back to Albany on Nov. 18 and 19 in order to review a draft report related to their nine-month long investigation.
The top Republican on the committee, Assemblyman Michael Montesano, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Assembly’s report leads to criminal charges.
“I think that the evidence that we've uncovered in the course of the investigation and the documents and everything, I think eventually may result in a criminal prosecution,” Montesano said. “It all depends.”
There are numerous investigations looking into the wide-ranging allegations that have piled up against the former governor.
This includes the Albany County sheriff who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo late last month, alleging that he forcibly touched his former assistant.
Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s attorney, blasted the piecemeal release of the transcripts, saying it would prejudice people while there is a pending criminal case. Glavin has been pushing though for the full release of the transcripts for months.
“The attorney general deliberately harms a pending case by broadcasting to each witness what other witnesses have testified to, and spreading false and salacious hearsay and rumors,” Glavin said in a statement.
However, the Albany County sheriff used testimony gathered by the attorney general.
Kathryn Barcroft, an attorney who deals with sexual harassment cases, said this could be why these transcripts were released. This testimony will most likely be made public anyways once this criminal case progresses forward.
Barcroft said the fact that Cuomo’s legal team was unaware these transcripts would be released speaks to the independence of the investigation.
“It was an independent investigation,” Barcroft explained. “He didn't get to look at any of the evidence or transcripts. He saw, obviously, the report that everybody else saw. Now he's seeing the evidence come out real time that everybody else is seeing. So on the other side of it, it's perhaps good to have public transparency.”
But the release of witness testimony seems to be speeding up the Assembly’s investigation, which is looking into not only the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, but also if he used state resources to write his book about leadership during the pandemic, if he covered up the number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths and more.
Cuomo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Assemblyman Montesano said through the course of this investigation he was shocked to see what he describes as a hostile work environment fostered by the former governor.
“I was quite surprised that a lot of the rank-and-file people had to be subjected to that kind of work environment, just for the sake of having a career,” Montesano said.
Montesano expects a finalized report to be released in around two to three weeks.