An Albany City Court judge dismissed the criminal case against former New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday that involved allegations that he forcibly groped one of his aides while he was governor.
“The dismissal was expected, and inevitable, after Albany County District Attorney David Soares said Tuesday that he was declining to prosecute Cuomo, 64, for allegedly forcibly touching female aide Brittany Commisso at the governor’s Executive Mansion in late 2020. The charge is a misdemeanor,” CNBC reported. “The Albany criminal case, which was initially filed by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office without Soares’ knowledge in advance, was the only criminal case lodged against Cuomo in connection with the alleged harassment.”
Commisso had issued a statement this week slamming Soares after learning that he was going to drop the case.
“My disappointing experience of re-victimization with the failure to prosecute a serial sexual abuser, no matter what degree the crime committed, yet again sadly highlights the reason victims are afraid to come forward, especially against people in power,” she said in a statement to the Times Union. “When will our voices uniformly be accepted? Where do we go to have our rights vindicated? Unfortunately, this is just another example of where our criminal justice system needs to do better.”
She added, “To every victim out there silently suffering from sexual harassment at the hands of a powerful government official, wondering what will happen if you tell the truth, please don’t let what has happened to me deter you from speaking up.”
The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office announced late last month that it had concluded a thorough investigation into two sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo and that while “credible evidence” was found, there would be no forthcoming charges against Cuomo.
“Our investigation found credible evidence to conclude that the alleged conduct in both instances described above did occur,” Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said in a statement. “However, 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. This conclusion is unrelated to any possible civil liability which is beyond the scope of a District Attorney’s jurisdiction, which focuses solely on criminal laws.”
Rocah concluded by championing the “bravery of the women and witnesses who have cooperated with law enforcement,” adding that her office remains “committed to supporting them and all survivors.”
Late last week, Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith announced she would not prosecute Cuomo following an investigation by her office into allegations that he inappropriately touched a female state trooper in 2019.
“Our exhaustive investigation found the allegations credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal under New York law,” she said. “It is important to note that our investigation was limited to alleged conduct at Belmont Racetrack, and prosecutors in other jurisdictions continue to review other allegations of misconduct by Mr. Cuomo. We thank the brave individuals who came forward and cooperated with our office during this investigation, and gratefully acknowledge our colleagues, Attorney General (Letitia) James and the New York State Assembly, for their diligence and collaboration.”
This is a breaking news story; refresh the page for updates.