Sunday, October 2, 2022

Aide who accused Cuomo filed criminal complaint

by Marina Villeneuve | The Associated Press

Albany, NY – A woman who accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of groping her breast at the governor’s state residence has filed a criminal complaint against her, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The complaint, filed Thursday at the sheriff’s office, is the first known instance where a woman has made an official report with a law enforcement agency on alleged misconduct by Cuomo. “We take every complaint seriously,” Albany County Undersheriff William Rice said Friday.

It is possible that the Democratic governor could be arrested if investigators or the county district attorney determine that he committed a crime, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple told the New York Post.

“The end result can be either that it is proved and an arrest is made and it will be up to the DA to prosecute the arrest,” he told the newspaper, which was the first to report on the complaint. “Just because it’s who it is we’re not going to rush it or delay it,” Apple said.

Apple did not immediately return a phone message from the Associated Press. His office confirmed to the AP that the report had been filed.

The Cuomo aide who filed the report has accused her of reaching under his shirt and making love to her when she was left alone at the executive mansion last year. The woman also told investigators with the attorney general’s office that Cuomo once rubbed her rear end while they were photographed together.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately provide a copy of the complaint. A request for comment was sent to Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin.

The Albany County district attorney would not confirm whether she received a complaint, saying she has no plans to release any information because “this is an ongoing matter that is being reviewed,” spokeswoman Cecilia Walsh said. said in an email.

Cuomo denies touching anyone inappropriately. His lawyers have admitted that Cuomo and the woman met together on the day of the alleged encounter, but said they never touched him.

Demands for Cuomo’s resignation or impeachment escalated this week when an independent investigation by the state attorney general’s office concluded that Cuomo sexually assaulted 11 women and retaliated against one of his accusers.

The Attorney General’s report described Cuomo allegedly acting inappropriately with an aide described as Executive Assistant #1 several times, culminating in the November 16, 2020 encounter at the mansion.

Cuomo hugged him as he prepared to walk out of the governor’s office. Told that “you’ll get us in trouble,” Cuomo replied, “I don’t care,” and closed the door. Reportedly, he slid his hand over her blouse, and grabbed her chest by the top of her bra.

She told investigators, “I have to tell you, it was — at this point, I was in such shock that I could tell you I remembered just looking at her hand, looking over my bra.”

He pulled away from Cuomo and said, “You’re crazy.”

The woman had initially planned to “take the harassment claims to the grave”.

“(a) Whenever he touched me, I thought it was unfair. He was my boss, let alone the governor of New York State, so I certainly felt he had abused his power and certainly knew he had a presence about him, very intimidating, he was never told by anyone that he was wrong and neither were you asked to do. He certainly knew what he was doing was inappropriate ,” she testified. Cuomo vehemently refused to touch her breasts, saying, “I have to lose my mind to do that.”

Prosecutors in several New York counties have said they are interested in investigating claims of inappropriate touching by Cuomo, but all had said they required the women involved in the charges to make a formal report.

The Albany Police Department, the primary law enforcement agency for the city, was informed of the woman’s allegations about the encounter at the mansion several months earlier and spoke to her attorney, but did not open an investigation at the time because she Didn’t make the report.

The criminal investigation comes as lawmakers move towards possible impeachment proceedings on the charges.

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