Cuomo to be charged with misdemeanor sex crime over alleged groping of former aide
NEW YORK NOW - Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be charged with at least one misdemeanor sex crime over his alleged groping of a former aide, a spokesman for the state court system confirmed Thursday.
“A Misdemeanor Complaint against former Governor Andrew Cuomo has been filed in Albany City Court,” said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesperson for the state Office of Court Administration. “As this is a sex crime, a redacted complaint will be available shortly.”
According to a criminal complaint released by the state court system, Cuomo will be charged with the class A misdemeanor of Forcible Touching, which can carry a sentence of up to a year in jail upon conviction.
The Albany County Sheriff's Office confirmed the complaint, and said Cuomo would appear in criminal court in Albany on November 17.
Rita Glavin, an attorney for Cuomo, called the charge "political," and questioned the investigation into the alleged crime.
"Governor Cuomo has never assaulted anyone, and Sheriff Apple’s motives here are patently improper. Sheriff Apple didn’t even tell the District Attorney what he was doing," Glavin said.
"But Apple’s behavior is no surprise given (1) his August 7 press conference where he essentially pronounced the Governor guilty before doing an investigation, and (2) his Office’s leaking of grand jury information. This is not professional law enforcement; this is politics.”
The charge was compiled using copies of Blackberry PIN messages, cell phone records, swipe cards, State Police Aviation records, text messages, and testimony taken by the state Attorney General’s Office.
“At the aforesaid time, and location the defendant Andrew M. Cuomo did intentionally and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim,” the complaint reads.
Cuomo was accused this year of groping Brittany Commisso, a former aide in his office, at the Executive Mansion in Albany. Commisso’s allegations were one of several that led to Cuomo’s resignation in office.
Her account was deemed credible in a report released by the state Attorney General’s Office on the several claims of harassment leveled against Cuomo this year.
Attorney General Letitia James, in a statement Thursday, said the criminal charge filed against Cuomo validated the findings of the report.
“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate allegations that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor," James said. "The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report.”
Cuomo has denied the allegations, and Glavin, his attorney, has said the visitor logs of the Executive Mansion do not support Commisso’s claim that she was there when she alleges the incident happened.
Representatives for Cuomo did not immediately comment on the charge.