The “toxic workplace environment” disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo fostered before resigning from office included demeaning nicknames for staffers and flying fruit, according to new transcripts released by the New York Attorney General’s Office.
In the past two weeks, AG Letitia James has been releasing transcripts and exhibits from the independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations that led to Cuomo’s resignation in August.
On Monday, Nov. 29 the latest release included interviews with more than half the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct, video of Cuomo's top aides, and transcripts from more than a dozen former aides and staffers.
Videos of accusers Charlotte Bennett, Lindsay Boylan, Brittany Commisso, Virginia Limmiatis, Ana Liss, and Alyssa McGrath depicting their encounters with Cuomo were also among the latest to be released.
Previously, a 12-hour video of Cuomo's deposition was also released by the Attorney General.
The complete list of transcripts, exhibits, and video testimonies that have been released can be found here.
Among the claims made against the governor were unflattering nicknames he tossed at junior staffers such as “Bun or Sponge, with multiple staffers made to cry at the former governor’s hands, including one incident when he allegedly threw a bag of fruit at them.
“We had just done a series of radio and it was probably radio appearances that he had phoned in to NY1 and they showed an old headshot of him and he asked (top aide) Rich Azzopardi to replace the headshot either a few weeks or months back,” the staffer said.
The staffer said that Cuomo chided Azzopardi for not having the headshot replaced, and then he threw a bag of fruit - described as “a regular-sized bag of dried apricots that was probably half-eaten” - at them and told them to get out.
Azzopardi has denied that the fruit incident took place following the release of the transcripts.
Allegations made in the latest videos and transcripts also include unwanted kisses on the lips, “as a sort of, you know, a goodbye sometimes to folks,” and inappropriate conversations.
According to James, following the release of the report over the summer, multiple district attorneys asked that her office refrains from publicly releasing transcripts and other evidence so that their offices could first investigate and determine whether to file criminal charges against Cuomo.
However, after a criminal complaint was filed against Cuomo last month in Albany County, the District Attorney there announced it would begin releasing evidence to Cuomo to comply with New York state’s discovery laws.
“These laws state that once someone is charged with a crime they must be furnished transcripts and other evidence in their case,” James stated.
“As these materials are now being released by the Albany County District Attorney’s office — and in an effort to provide full transparency to the people of New York — the OAG has informed local district attorneys that it will immediately begin releasing, on a rolling basis, all (evidence) compiled during the investigation, pending redactions to protect the privacy of individuals, as appropriate.”
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