N.Y. Today: Cuomo and his accusers’ testimony

What you need to know for Thursday.

It's Thursday. We'll look at takeaways from testimony by Andrew Cuomo and the women who accused him of sexual harassment when he was governor. We will also look at Hunter Biden's gallery show, which opens to the public today.

Pool photo by Mary Altaffer

Furiously, combatively, tauntingly, Andrew Cuomo used an 11-hour session with investigators from the state attorney general's office in July to deny that he had sexually harassed women.

Cuomo's often-defiant testimony became public in a 515-page transcript released by the New York State attorney general on Wednesday, four months after a report on the investigation concluded that Cuomo had, despite his denials, harassed at least 11 women. Cuomo resigned eight days after that report was issued.

The transcript issued on Wednesday showed Cuomo protesting, quibbling and reacting angrily to questions. He said that yes, he often kissed and hugged staffers, saying that if any inappropriate touching had occurred, it must have been "incidental." He said that he showed concern about the well-being of employees, both male and female, including their romantic lives.

And he made sure the investigators knew he believed that they were involved in a "biased political investigation" and that those in charge of it had a long-running vendetta against him.


The transcript was one of a dozen documents released on Wednesday that offered a view of the investigation that drove Cuomo from office. The material provided a few new details, including a devastating firsthand account from an unnamed state trooper. She said she had felt "completely violated" after Cuomo touched her inappropriately.

And when he offered her a private tour of the Executive Mansion in Albany, she sensed a different purpose.

"He tried to be flirtatious," the trooper said. "A lot of times, it came off creepy."

Cuomo was expansive in his answers to some questions. But when asked about his interactions with his accusers, he became terse. Answering questions about whether he had kissed certain staffers on the lips, Cuomo said that it "may have happened" that he kissed two specific senior staffers, and his former scheduler, that way. But he said flatly that he had not kissed two of his accusers, Lindsey Boylan or Brittany Commisso.


Commisso's allegation — that Cuomo grabbed her breast while they were alone in the Executive Mansion in Albany, after other unpleasant encounters — has resulted in the most damaging fallout. The transcript released on Wednesday showed how she wrestled with how to handle the situation as it unfolded.

Cuomo said it defied belief that he would have engaged in such behavior after years in public life.

"That never happened," he told the investigators. "At one point there has to be a little reality. To touch a woman's breast 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.'"

The reams of testimony released on Wednesday are likely to serve as a blueprint for Cuomo and his lawyers in their continued attempts to undermine the investigators' findings. "The more we know about this investigation, the more we know what a fraud it was," Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo's spokesman, said on Wednesday. He called the process "slanted" and said it "reeks of prosecutorial misconduct."



The weather today will be better than on some Veterans Days — 1.1 inches of snow fell on Veterans Day in 1987. Today we'll see morning sunshine and bask in temps in the high 50s. Clouds will roll in later, with temps barely dropping overnight.


Suspended today (Veterans Day).

The latest New York news

Hunter Biden's art show opens to the public today

George Etheredge for The New York Times

It is a splashy debut for an art world newcomer. It comes amid concerns that buyers might end up wanting more than a painting — that some would use an acquisition for influence. The reason: The artist is Hunter Biden, the president's son.

My colleague Graham Bowley writes that the White House has insisted that safeguards are in place to prevent that. Only the gallerist Georges Bergès — and the purchasers, of course — will know who bought any of the 25 works on display in Bergès's SoHo gallery. Hunter Biden will be told how much the paintings sold for, Bergès said, noting that none would go for as much as $500,000, as was once reported. He said one might sell for more than $100,000.

Those who see the exhibition as a potential ethical minefield worry that the prices have more to do with Biden's identity than his talent or skill. They also fear that the safeguards will not prove strong enough.

"It's a plan that is almost certain to fail," said Walter Shaub, senior ethics fellow at the Project on Government Oversight and former head of the Office of Government Ethics. "When you look at public perceptions of corruption, it has already failed."

Shaub scoffed at Bergès's suggestion that he had found the next great artist of the 21st century, saying that Biden was "not a new Jackson Pollock" but "a new Eric Trump."

Biden administration officials tend to respond defensively to questions about Hunter Biden, saying privately that his art venture is different from what they consider shameless moves by President Donald J. Trump's sons to tie their family business to the presidency.

Our critic Jason Farago saw the exhibition a couple of weeks ago and found it "more substantial than an amateur's dabbling." Still, "it's not the sort of exhibition that would make a current M.F.A. student feel jealous or unsophisticated by comparison," he wrote.

He said that "signs and styles blend fast and arbitrarily" and that there were "leaden images of black birds, living and dead" and "ghastly new-age portraits of a bald person, or maybe a bald extraterrestrial." There were also a number of snakes, which may have some particular meaning — "molting and rebirth and all that." But the symbology might "just suggest being a dude."


Remembering those who served

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

The black-and-white film clips are slightly jerky, giving the soldiers' smart staccato stepping just a bit too much staccato. The horses' gait is that way, too. It was footage of the first veterans' parade, on Sept. 10, 1919, welcoming home Gen. John J. Pershing and 25,000 soldiers from what became known as the war to end all wars.

"Madison Avenue slogan," George Bergman declared, referring to the war-to-end-all-wars phrase, in 1997. A veteran of World War I, he had served in Haiti and Cuba. (Bergman died in 1999, two days short of his 102nd birthday.)

Over the years, the parade became a way to recognize everyone who had served in the military, not just veterans of World War I. Its date was moved to Nov. 11 — Armistice Day, the day World War I ended, which officially became Veterans Day in 1954. At 11 a.m. today, a solemn wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Eternal Light Flagstaff in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. The parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. at Fifth Avenue and 29th Street.

What we're reading


Drenched in Manhattan

Dear Diary:

Just before heading home from college for Christmas in 1973, my best friend and I went to Manhattan.

My flute teacher said that I needed a better flute, so we went to Manny's on West 48th Street. I bought a flute and, not wanting to carry it as we walked around the city, we immediately returned to Grand Central Terminal and put it in a locker.

It was raining that day, but we spent it walking, shopping and enjoying the Christmas displays. We had on jeans, boots, long coats and hats and were drenched when we got to the New York State Theater for the student rush.

For $5 apiece, we got box seats for the New York City Ballet's "Nutcracker." We blow-dried our hair under the hand dryers in the beautiful bathroom, then found our seats and hung our wet socks on the railing in front of us to dry.

Margaret O'Hara Best

Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.

Jaevon Williams, Jeffrey Furticella, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at nytoday@nytimes.com.

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