Former New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, was charged on Oct. 28, with a misdemeanor sex offense stemming from allegations that he groped a staffer last year. The summons was filed by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, but some officials have claimed the filing was in error and that it was a political move rather than a matter of criminal justice.
The charges were filed on behalf of the alleged victim, Brittany Commisso, who claimed Cuomo reached his hand under her blouse and groped her left breast at the Executive Mansion in Albany last year. Investigator Amy Kowalski wrote that the former governor “knowingly and intentionally” committed the Class A misdemeanor of forcible touching. The complaint alleges that Cuomo:
“… did intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim [redacted] and onto her intimate body part … for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires.”
According to the Albany Times Union, Commisso had not yet consented to press charges, making the summons premature. Albany County District Attorney David Soares said in a statement: “Like the rest of the public, we were surprised to learn today that a criminal complaint was filed.” Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin, chastised Sheriff Craig Apple for submitting the charges. Mr. Cuomo, she said, has never assaulted anyone, adding: “Sheriff Apple didn’t even tell the District Attorney what he was doing. This is not professional law enforcement; this is politics.”
According to the complaint, the allegations of forceable touching are supported by documents, including testimony, found in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Aug. 3 report. Furthermore, there are cell phone records, New York State Capitol entry “swipes” belonging to an unnamed person, New York State Police aviation records for Dec. 7, 2020, and a text message from Cuomo’s phone, CNN reported. James also issued a statement Thursday, saying the charges were vindication:
“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor. The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report.”
Commisso is just one of nearly a dozen women who have come forward with sexual misconduct complaints against Cuomo. The politician maintained that he was innocent, saying at the time: “In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate. And I should have – no excuses.”
Cuomo faced the choice between resignation and impeachment after James’ report came out earlier this year. On Aug. 6, as Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza reported, 41 Democrat county chairs signed a statement demanding his resignation. The statement read, in part, “We have individually called for his resignation, and now we do so with one voice.” On Aug. 10, the governor announced that he was resigning. Then-Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul replaced him.
This type of misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to a year in prison; however, it is bail eligible. According to the sheriff’s office, Cuomo is due in court Nov. 17.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.