CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell landed an interview with Charlotte Bennett, former assistant to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who is one of three women who accused him of sexual misconduct.
In the interview, Bennett dismissed Cuomo’s apology, which he made during a press appearance on Wednesday. She told O’Donnell that “this is not an apology. It’s not a question of my feelings. It is a question of his actions. The point is, he was sexually harassing me and he didn’t apologize for sexually harassing me. And he can’t even use my name.
She also rejected Cuomo’s claim that his remarks might have been misinterpreted.
“No. I got it loud and clear. It just didn’t go the way he expected,” she said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t resign, apologizes for making women uncomfortable, but asks people to ‘wait for the facts’
O’Donnell has previously led two investigative projects into sexual assault in the US military. A 2017 article on sexual assault at the US Air Force Academy won an Emmy.
In her first TV interview, Bennett described a meeting on June 6, when she was called into Cuomo’s office to take the dictation, and the governor told her to turn off the tape recorder.
“And then he explains at this point that he’s looking for a girlfriend. He is alone. He’s tired, ”Bennett told O’Donnell.
“Have you just finished dictating and the governor tells you he’s alone and looking for a relationship?” O’Donnell asked.
“Yes. He asked me if I was having trouble enjoying being with someone because of my trauma,” Bennett said.
O’Donnell said Cuomo’s remark “seems totally inappropriate,” and Bennett replied, “Yeah. The governor asked me if I was sensitive to privacy.
She said in a previous conversation with Cuomo on May 15, he started asking her questions about her love life, and he has repeatedly said how she survived a sexual assault.
“So he said, ‘You were raped. You have been raped. You have been raped, mistreated and assaulted, ”Bennett said in the interview.
Bennett said that in their conversation on June 6, Cuomo asked him “if the age [their] the difference mattered. He also explained that he was fine with anyone over 22. She is 25 years old.
CBS News also reviewed text messages Bennett sent to a friend in which she described the encounter.
When asked what she was thinking as the governor asked the questions, Bennett replied, “I thought he was trying to sleep with me. The governor is trying to sleep with me. And I’m deeply uncomfortable and have to get out of this room ASAP.
CUOMO ACCUSER SPEAKS: In her first TV interview, Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaks with @NorahODonnell about his allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, providing the most detailed account to date from one of Cuomo’s accusers. pic.twitter.com/MOS0iViBfw
– CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 4, 2021
Cuomo made a statement to the New York Times regarding the allegations in which he stated that he “never made any advances towards Ms. Bennett, and I never intended to act in an improper manner”.
The second part of the interview will air on Friday CBS this morning.