New York’s disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo will not be prosecuted for allegedly groping a woman at his executive mansion, but could still face civil lawsuits, Albany County’s district attorney says.
The case is not being pursued despite prosecutors’ acknowledgement his accuser was ‘cooperative and credible.’
It’s the third time within the past week that allegations against Cuomo have been dropped; Manhattan’s district attorney said Monday that is will not file any charges against Cuomo in the nursing home scandal.
Last week, it was revealed that Cuomo won’t face criminal charges stemming from allegations from two women, including a state trooper, that he planted unwanted kisses on their cheeks.
Cuomo was due to be arraigned Friday over claims he inappropriately touched former staffer and current state worker Brittany Commisso, 33, in November 2020.
Although Commisso reportedly sought to move forward with the case, she was told by prosecutors Monday that the case will be dropped because of the way the complaint was filed.
Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo was due to be arraigned on Friday for allegedly groping former staffer and current state worker Brittany Commisso, 33, left, in November 2020
Albany County District Attorney David Soares confirmed Tuesday that the charge will not be prosecuted. The office’s investigation into Cuomo is now complete.
‘While many have an opinion regarding the allegations against the former Governor, the Albany County DA’s Office is the only one who has a burden to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt,’ Soares said in a press release.
‘While we found the complainant in this case cooperative and credible, after review of all the available evidence we have concluded that we cannot meet our burden at trial. As such we have notified the Court that we are declining to prosecute this matter and requesting the charges filed by the Albany County Sheriff be dismissed.’
But Albany County’s district attorney confirmed Tuesday that he will not be prosecuted forthe alleged crime
Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin has said that Commisso’s ‘story changed over time.’
The complaint filed by the sheriff’s department investigator said evidence in the case included police BlackBerry messages, cell phone records, building security records and a text message from Cuomo’s mobile phone.
In October, the Albany County sheriff’s office filed a misdemeanor groping complaint against Cuomo, but a week later the district attorney asked a judge for more time to evaluate the evidence.
The D.A. said that the sheriff’s one-page criminal complaint, based on Commisso’s allegations were ‘potentially defective.’
The ex-governor was also let off the hook last week when Westchester District Attorney Mimi Roca said he won’t face criminal charges stemming from allegations of unwanted kissing by two women, one of them a state trooper assigned to his detail.
District Attorney Mimi Rocah said there was ‘credible evidence’ the claims were valid
‘In both instances, my office has determined that, although the allegations and witnesses were credible, and the conduct concerning, we cannot pursue criminal charges due to the statutory requirements of the criminal laws of New York,’ Rocah said in a statement.
The female state trooper said she felt ‘completely violated’ by his unwanted touching at an event at Belmont Park racetrack in September 2019.
According to the report, the trooper said Cuomo ran the palm of his left hand across her abdomen, to her belly button and then to her right hip, where she kept her gun, while she held a door open for him as he left an event at Belmont Park on September 23, 2019.
Last August, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a 168-page report with 74,000 pieces of evidence and dozens of interviews that chronicled accusations from 11 women against Cuomo and led to his resignation from office, although he has attacked the findings as biased and inaccurate.
After James’ report was concluded, she said pursuing potential criminal penalties would be up to prosecutors.
The unnamed state trooper assigned to Cuomo’s detail was on duty at his home in Mount Kisco and asked the governor if he needed anything before he responded by asking her if he could kiss her, according to James’ report. The trooper said that she feared the ramifications of denying his request, so she said ‘sure.’
Cuomo kissed her on the cheek and, as listed in James’ report, said something along the lines of ‘”oh, I’m not supposed to do that” or “unless that’s against the rules.”’
Former aide Lindsay Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward a few days later
Anna Ruch was the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and the only one thus far who did not work with him in a professional capacity
In a second allegation probed by Rocah’s office, a woman claimed that an unprompted Cuomo grabbed her arm, pulled her toward him and kissed her on the cheek to greet her at an event at White Plains High School.
While Rocah said that her office would not pursue criminal charges, she added that their conclusion is not related to ‘any possible civil liability’ because it is outside of her office’s jurisdiction.
Last week, a Long Island prosecutor said Cuomo wouldn’t face criminal charges after the same unnamed trooper said she felt ‘completely violated’ by his unwanted touching at an event at Belmont Park in September 2019. Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith said the allegations were credible and troubling but not criminal under state law.
Former aide Lindsay Boylan, 36, was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment in a Medium post on February 24. She claimed that the governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her on the lips without her permission when she worked for him in 2017.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, came forward a few days after Boylan and claimed that Cuomo sexually harassed her last June while she was working as a health policy adviser in his administration at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Bennett accused Cuomo of ‘grooming’ her and asking inappropriate questions about her sex life.
She also claimed that he told her he was open to dating women in their 20s.
Attorney General Letitia James’ report found that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women in violation of federal and state civil rights law but left the possibility of pursuing potential criminal penalties to prosecutors
Anna Ruch was the third woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment and the only one thus far who did not work with him in a professional capacity. She claimed that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan.
Ana Liss, 35, a former aide, said Cuomo asked her whether she had a boyfriend, once kissed her hand at her desk and called her by patronizing names, including ‘blondie,’ ‘sweetheart’ and ‘honey.’
At a reception, the governor hugged her then put his arm around her lower back and waist as they posed for photo, Liss said.
She said she eventually asked for a job transfer. In an interview, Liss said she was ‘not claiming sexual harassment per se,’ but felt the administration ‘wasn’t a safe space for young women to work.’
The oldest allegations against Cuomo came from Karen Hinton, who served as a press aide for him when he led the US Department of Housing and Urban Development two decades ago and she was a consultant for the agency.
Hinton told the Washington Post about a 2000 incident when she said Cuomo summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event. She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo when he pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape the room.
The most damning allegations leveled against Cuomo to date came from a sixth accuser, whose name has not been released.
The accuser, who is a member of Cuomo’s staff, alleged that he closed a door, reached under her blouse and fondled her after summoning her to the governor’s mansion in Albany for help with his cellphone, according to the Times Union of Albany.