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Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut off a reporter during a virtual news conference Wednesday who was pressing him to say whether he’d resign if found guilty in a probe of his sexual harassment scandal.
The silencing of the journalist by Cuomo staffers came during a brief question-and-answer session that followed the governor’s appearance in Yonkers to promote coronavirus vaccinations.
“If the attorney general’s report concludes that under state law you did sexually harass employees in violation of state law, will you resign? Yes or no,” New York Law Journal reporter Ryan Tarinelli asked.
Cuomo answered, “Let’s see what the review says, and then we’ll take it from there.
When Tarinelli asked Cuomo to “please clarify exactly what that means,” Cuomo repeated his earlier response word for word.
Tarinelli then said, “It just does –” before his line suddenly went dead.
“OK,” Cuomo said.
“Yeah, I’m not gonna have any comment on a review that is underway beyond that. I was attorney general of the state. I said to everyone during a review, please don’t comment during the pendency of the review. Let the review go on.”
Cuomo added: “At the appropriate time, I will have a comment about the review, and about the facts, about the truth. So I’m looking forward to that. But now is not the time.”
Tarinelli tweeted afterward that he’d been intentionally silenced.
“Yep, I got cut off while trying to follow up on this point,” he wrote.
Reporters had been told by email early Wednesday afternoon that they could not cover the event in person and could only participate using Zoom video-conferencing software.
Following the aborted exchange, another reporter reminded Cuomo that he’d previously described himself as “huggy by nature” and asked “if since then, you’ve changed your behavior or you feel it’s necessary that you should do that when you greet people professionally?”
“You’ve watched me in public for many, many years, right? So you know how I behave. The people of New York know how I behave,” Cuomo said.
“But let’s see what the review says. The Assembly’s doing a review. The attorney general’s doing a review. I’ll then tell you what I think. And then we’ll go from there.”
When WCBS Newsradio 880 reporter Peter Haskell repeated his question, Cuomo noted that “we are now in a COVID situation” with “social distancing and masks” before ending the news conference.
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