Disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was charged on Thursday with forcibly touching and groping a former aide during his tenure. If proved guilty, the crime could force him to register as a sex offender and send him to jail for at least a year, sources said. The news comes two months after he was pushed out of office by New York AG Letitia James.
The charges relate to the allegations made by Brittany Commisso, 33, a former aide who claimed Cuomo groped her breasts in the office of the Executive Mansion in Albany in December 2020, when he was at the height of his pandemic popularity.
More Trouble for Cuomo
Commisso is among the more than a dozen women who alleged Cuomo of sexually assaulting them. However, Commisso's claim was the most serious of all of the allegations listed in James' report.
The complaint filed at Albany City Court alleges that Cuomo, "did intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim...and onto her intimate body part. Specifically, the victims [sic] left breast for the purposes of degrading and satisfying his sexual desire."
The name of the alleged victim was redacted from the complaint. However, a lawyer representing Commissio confirmed that she was the one who is the complainant. The incident reportedly happened on Dec 7, 2020 on the second floor of Cuomo's Executive Mansion in Albany.
The complaint charges Cuomo with forcibly touching a woman, who could send him to jail for a year. The disgraced governor has, however, always denied the allegations.
Cuomo's denial may not be able to save him given that Commisso's allegations are supported by strong evidence and in all likelihood he will end up getting arrested soon. The complaint filed by the sheriff's department investigator said Commisso's allegations are supported by included text messages on BlackBerry, other cell phone records, building security records and a text message from Cuomo's mobile phone.
A summons has been issued directing Cuomo to appear in Albany City Court on November 17, according to the Albany County Sheriff's Office and the Albany County District Attorney's Office.
That said, Cuomo continues to defend himself against the damaging allegations. Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin has said that Commisso's "story changed over time."
A criminal investigation into the allegations was opened by Albany County District Attorney David Soares on August 3, shortly after James detailed the alleged groping incident in a report that accused Cuomo of sexually harassing 11 women, including nine current or former state workers.
Six days later, Commisso, an administrative assistant in the governor's office, went public in a tearful interview on 'CBS This Morning' during which she said Cuomo "put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra" inside Albany's Executive Mansion in November.
"The governor needs to be held accountable," Commisso had said at that time. What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law."
The announcement of the charge was chaotic on Thursday; the criminal summons was filed hastily, before sheriff's deputies had received the permission of Commisso.
It was then leaked to a local reporter in Albany, who tweeted about it and published a brief report on New York Focus. Spokespeople for the Albany County Sheriff's Department then refused to confirm or deny whether or not their office had filed charges.