New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi said Wednesday that she was one of the witnesses who spoke with the state attorney general’s team leading the probe into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Biaggi, who once worked in the governor’s office, told CNBC that she met with investigators in July in New York City. Although she did not provide details of those conversations, the lawmaker said that while speaking with investigators she reiterated much of what she has already explained publicly about her experiences working for Cuomo.
“I was interviewed,” Biaggi said when asked if the attorney general’s team spoke with her, confirming that the meeting took place last month in the Big Apple.
Biaggi told CNBC that her interview with the attorney general’s office for the Cuomo investigation proves that those looking into the governor’s alleged behavior were extremely thorough and turned over every rock to get to the truth.
“Why that also matters is that one of the things we are seeing as viewers of the governor’s response is that there is an attempt to undermine the credibility of the reporting,” Biaggi said. “There’s also an attempt now to undermine the credibility of the witnesses, namely the 11 women and more specifically Charlotte Bennett.”
Bennett came forward with allegations in February that Cuomo sexually harassed her when she worked for him as a health policy advisor.
“I think it’s very important that your readers understand that there was a thoroughness to the investigation and then, where it was found that a witness was credible, that was because there was corroborating evidence,” Biaggi said.
Biaggi has previously described a toxic work environment within the governor’s office. Since the report came out, Biaggi has called on Cuomo to either resign, and if he does not, for the state Assembly to impeach him. Cuomo has continued to deny wrongdoing.
“It is a culture where people are incessantly berated and yelled at,” Biaggi, a progressive who represents New York’s 34th District, said in another interview earlier this year. “There is intimidation tactics that happen if you’re not considered someone who is going to just carry out the orders or the commands of the governor in a way that, perhaps, that he sees fit, even if you believe that it’s unethical.”
The New York state attorney general’s report says Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women and violated state along with federal laws. The Manhattan and Westchester district attorneys asked New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday for evidence related to her office’s bombshell report.
The report itself does not name certain witnesses but notes that James’ team spoke with dozens of individuals.
“During the course of our investigation, we interviewed dozens of individuals, who were comprised of complainants, current and former members of the Executive Chamber, State Troopers, other State employees, and others who interacted regularly with the Governor,” the report says.
Biaggi did not rule out running for governor or another higher officer, such as lieutenant governor or comptroller, although she did suggest that she was waiting to see what happened next to Cuomo before she makes a future decision. CNBC reported last month that she was privately considering a primary challenge against Cuomo.
“It’s a reasonable question but what I will say to you is that it is absolutely not my focus because it’s not over. Not even close,” Biaggi said when asked whether she is thinking about running for higher office, including governor.
“Until this person is no longer in office, even having a conversation about it is not really helpful because the most important that I can do in this moment, and also until he is no longer in office, is to make sure he is no longer in office, because of the harm he is causing,” Biaggi said.
“Until that’s done I think that’s where all of our focus should be and anything else, until then, is really very much a distraction,” she added.