Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who described himself as the “love gov” before his tenure ended this summer in a hail of sexual harassment allegations — expressed confusion in July about what the word “girlfriend” means, according to an investigative transcript released Wednesday.
Under questioning in the state attorney general office’s probe into accusations against him, Cuomo entered into a circuitous semantic discussion about the phrase girlfriend, the transcript of the July 17 interview said.
“How do you want to define ‘girlfriend?’” Cuomo told an interrogator when asked if a woman was a former girlfriend.
The questioner, Joon Kim, responded by asking Cuomo if he had dated the woman, Lisa Shields.
“How do you want to define ‘date?’” Cuomo asked.
Kim said: “I’ll go to my earlier question: Was she your girlfriend? You don’t understand that question?”
After meeting another evasive reply from Cuomo, Kim again asked the disgraced governor to define the term girlfriend.
“Well, girlfriend means different things to different people,” Cuomo said, his linguistic wriggling evoking the lawyerly approach former President Bill Clinton once took under questioning about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
As Cuomo continued to dodge, he at one point defined the term as “a friend who is a girl.”
“How about someone you date, have relations with?” Kim suggested.
“Have relations?” Cuomo asked.
“Kiss — you kiss. You go on dates — would you go on dates?” Kim replied.
“Did I kiss her?” Cuomo said. “Yes. There was a period of time that I kissed her.”
He acknowledged joining her for activities, too.
“I — she is a woman who was a friend who I did see romantically for a period of time,” Cuomo said.
“If you define ‘girlfriend’ as a woman-friend who you see romantically for a period of time, was Lisa Shields a girlfriend of yours?” Kim asked.
“If that is your definition,” Cuomo said, “yes.”
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