Aug 9, 2021

Brittany Commisso Interview on Allegations Against Gov. Andrew Cuomo Transcript

Brittany Commisso Interview on Allegations Against Gov. Andrew Cuomo Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsBrittany Commisso Interview on Allegations Against Gov. Andrew Cuomo Transcript

Brittany Commisso, an executive assistant on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff, participated in an interview with CBS on August 9 to discuss allegations of sexual misconduct against Cuomo. Read the transcript of her remarks here.

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Jericka Duncan: (00:00)
The first woman to file a criminal complaint against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is telling us why she did it. In an exclusive interview with CBS This Morning and Albany’s Times Union newspaper, Brittany Commisso says Cuomo groped and sexually harassed her. Commisso was identified as executive assistant #1 in the State Attorney General’s report and is one of 11 women who accused the governor of sexual misconduct. Cuomo denies all their allegations. Commisso says the governor broke the law and in her words, “Needs to be held accountable.”

Brittany Commisso: (00:34)
To me, this was a dream job. And it unfortunately it turned into a nightmare.

Jericka Duncan: (00:39)
32 year old Brittany Commisso started working as an executive assistant in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in 2017. Nearly four years later, she’s the woman known as executive assistant #1 in the New York Attorney General’s report into allegations of sexual harassment by the governor.

Jericka Duncan: (00:58)
In the report, you’re known as executive assistant #1.

Brittany Commisso: (01:02)
I am executive assistant in the governor’s office, but I am also a mother. I’m a daughter. I’m a friend. I’m a colleague. I am more than executive assistant #1.

Jericka Duncan: (01:19)
She says Governor Cuomo groped her twice. The first time on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2019 at the governor’s mansion.

Brittany Commisso: (01:27)
I had to go over to the mansion to help the governor with a state of the state speech. I wasn’t there late. I did my final edit. And while I was upstairs in the office, the governor said, “Why don’t we take a selfie?”

Jericka Duncan: (01:42)
So his suggestion, you say.

Brittany Commisso: (01:43)

Jericka Duncan: (01:45)
With your phone?

Brittany Commisso: (01:46)
With my phone. I then felt while taking the selfie, his hand go down my back onto my butt. And he started rubbing it. Not sliding it, not quickly brushing over it, rubbing my butt.

Jericka Duncan: (02:06)
And did you ask him, “What are you doing?”

Brittany Commisso: (02:09)
Well, this was while I was taking the selfie, I became so nervous that my hands were clearly shaking. And a lot of the photos that I was snapping were completely blurry, I showed him them and he said, “Oh, those aren’t good.” And he said, “Why don’t we go sit on the couch and we can take a better one.”

Jericka Duncan: (02:29)
So you sit on the couch.

Brittany Commisso: (02:31)
I sat on the couch because I thought to myself, okay. I don’t think on the couch that he would have a way to just do what he just did. So I felt safer actually on the couch. And in the photo, I have my arm wrapped around his shoulder, almost as if you were taking a picture with a buddy. And that is the one that has been blurred out that has been now released to the public.

Jericka Duncan: (02:57)
The governor has denied that he put his hand on Commisso’s bottom during the selfie. Commisso alleges that the governor groped her a second time at the governor’s mansion in November of 2020.

Brittany Commisso: (03:09)
So he gets up and he goes to give me a hug. And I could tell immediately when he hugged me, it was probably the most sexually aggressive manner than any of the other hugs that he had given me. It was then that I said, “Governor,” my words were, “You’re going to get us in trouble.” And I thought to myself, that probably wasn’t the best thing to say. But at that time, I was so afraid that one of the mansion staff, that they were going to come up and see this and think, oh, is that what she comes here for? And that’s not what I came there for. And that’s not who I am. And I was terrified of that. And when I said that he walked over, shut the door. So hard to the point where I thought for sure, someone downstairs must think… They must think if they heard that what is going on. Came back to me. And that’s when he put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra.

Brittany Commisso: (04:18)
I exactly remember looking down, seeing his hand, which is a large hand. Thinking to myself, oh my God, this is happening. It happened so quick. He didn’t say anything. When I stopped it, he just pulled away and walked away.

Jericka Duncan: (04:39)
I want to read to you what the governor said, “To touch a woman’s breasts, who I hardly know in the mansion with 10 staff around, with my family in the mansion. To say I don’t care who sees us, I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing.”

Brittany Commisso: (04:57)
Reading that is disgusting. It’s simple. I know the truth. He knows the truth. I know what happened. And so does he.

Jericka Duncan: (05:08)
More than three months, she says she didn’t tell anyone until she watched Governor Cuomo’s press conference on March 3rd.

Governor Cuomo: (05:15)
But this is what I want you to know. And I want you to know this from me directly.

Brittany Commisso: (05:21)
He almost has this smirk that he thinks that he’s untouchable. That was the tipping point. I broke down. I said, “He’s lying.” I felt like he was personally saying it to me.

Governor Cuomo: (05:37)
I never touched anyone inappropriately.

Brittany Commisso: (05:41)
Yes, you did. Yes, you have. And not only yes, but one of them is me. And that’s when I broke down. I told my coworkers a little bit.

Jericka Duncan: (05:53)
And there were two people you told us to at the time?

Brittany Commisso: (05:55)

Jericka Duncan: (05:56)
Why did you file that criminal complaint with the Sheriff’s office?

Brittany Commisso: (05:59)
Because it was the right thing to do. The governor needs to be held accountable.

Jericka Duncan: (06:04)
Being held accountable to you mean seeing the governor charged with a crime.

Brittany Commisso: (06:10)
What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.

Jericka Duncan: (06:15)
Commisso says she’s thankful to the other accusers for giving her the strength to come forward.

Brittany Commisso: (06:21)
There was a time when between my personal life and this, it was too much. People don’t understand. You know, it’s the governor of the State of New York. He is a professional fighter. And I think people should know that it hasn’t been easy. And I apologize that I haven’t come forward sooner.

Jericka Duncan: (06:47)
Commisso doesn’t remember the exact date the governor allegedly grabbed her breasts, something Cuomo’s attorney pointed out in a recent news conference. CBS News has asked Cuomo’s legal team for a list of visitors to the governor’s mansion from October through December of 2020. Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin, also says the governor did not grope or sexually assault Commisso and questions the fairness of the state AG’s report claiming it omitted evidence that was favorable to the governor. So this is a classic case of he said, she said, but she is standing by everything that you heard in that interview.

Speaker 4: (07:29)
The fact that Melissa DeRosa, who was the number one chief aid to the governor has decided based on the reporting that you and the Albany Times Union has done. In other words, I can sort of see that it happened late Sunday night after we’d released a couple of soundbites from your interview, clearly signifies that she can no longer stand by the governor side. And so it will be interesting to see what happens in the assembly.

Speaker 5: (07:47)
And I think it’s actually more now than a he said, she said, because he hasn’t said all that much. We’ve waited for more of a response to the AG’s report. And she said quite a lot to you.

Jericka Duncan: (07:57)
She did. I mean, but he continues to say that didn’t happen. His personal attorney over the weekend did a 45 minute interview on another network and basically said, “It’s not true.” And that based on the report, which we have right here, all 165 pages, that there were questions, but there’s no question about what Brittany Commisso says happened to her. She’s very clear about that.

Speaker 5: (08:20)
And from the interview that you just did, I think you can see why the New York Attorney General said that these were credible reports. And you really understand the predicament that if the allegations are true, the governor would put people in. He’s got so much power. They are employees of the state and of him. When she says, “You’re going to get us in trouble.” That line really rings true.

Speaker 4: (08:40)
And now you’ve got everybody from the president of the United States on down to the Democrats here in New York State that are saying-

Jericka Duncan: (08:46)
That’s right, calling for him to resign.

Speaker 4: (08:46)
… calling for him to resign.

Speaker 5: (08:47)
Extraordinary situation.

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