Governor Andrew Cuomo was grilled for 11 hours in a videotaped interview as part of an investigation into sexual harassment claims, according to The New York Times.
Quoting five people “briefed on the encounter”, the Times reported that the midtown Manhattan interview with lead investigators Joon H Kim and Anne L Clark on 17 July came as the probe nears its end.
There were tense moments during the interview, with the governor questioning the independence of Mr Kim, a former federal prosecutor, over previous investigations he has conducted into the governor and his allies, the Times said.
So secret was the meeting, the outlet reported, that the investigators slipped away out the back door in the dark of night to avoid photographers.
Mr Kim and Ms Clark were appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James to gather hours of testimony from Mr Cuomo’s accusers, as well as scrutinise locations where the allegations are said to have occurred.
Eight women have accused the governor of improper behaviour like unwanted kissing and touching. While Mr Cuomo has apologised for making anyone feel uncomfortable or saying comments that were “insensitive or too personal”, he strongly denies any allegations of wrongdoing.
Investigators are expected to send their findings to Ms James for a public report to be released by the end of the summer, which will be informed by the hours of interviews as well as subpoenaed emails, text messages and BlackBerry data from the governor’s staff.
Mr Cuomo, who requested the AG’s office investigate the allegations, had no comment on its status when questioned by reporters on Monday.
“I said I will cooperate with it, and at the appropriate time, I will comment on the review. But this is not the appropriate time yet,” he said, according to The New York Post.
Mr Cuomo has resisted calls to resign amid the allegations as most New Yorkers seemingly agree he should not step down, despite a poll showing more people believe claims of sexual harassment than those that think he’s innocent.
A poll from Siena College Research Institute found 50 per cent think he shouldn’t resign compared to 35 per cent who think he should. More than a third of voters, 35 per cent, believe he committed sexual harassment while 24 per cent believe he had not.
It was, however, conducted before some of the more recent allegations came to light and New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand joined calls for his removal.