No Charges for Cuomo After Albany DA Decides to Drop Groping Case

No Charges for Cuomo After Albany DA Decides to Drop Groping Case 1

Cuomo Under Fire

No Charges for Cuomo After Albany DA Decides to Drop Groping Case

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What to Know

  • The Albany District Attorney has dropped the groping case against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying that although the allegations are credible and troubling, they wouldn’t be able to “prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.”
  • Cuomo’s arraignment was initially postponed from November until January after the Albany County district attorney told the court that the misdemeanor sex-crime complaint against the former New York governor is “potentially defective.”
  • In November, the Soares, told the judge in Albany City court that the complaint was “unilaterally and inexplicably filed” by Albany Sheriff Craig Apple in the middle of an investigation by Soares’ office, and that it excluded key testimony from the alleged victim.

The Albany District Attorney has dropped the groping case against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying that although the allegations are credible and troubling, they wouldn’t be able to “prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In a statement announcing the outcome, District Attorney David Soares said in part: “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. 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.”

“I, like most New Yorkers, remain deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here. Such conduct has no place in government or in any workplace,” the statement went on to say.

The decision to discontinue criminal prosecution is unrelated to any possible civil liability, which is beyond the scope of a district attorney’s jurisdiction.

Cuomo’s arraignment was initially postponed from November until January after the Albany County district attorney told the court that the misdemeanor sex-crime complaint against the former New York governor is “potentially defective.”

In November, the Soares, told the judge in Albany City court that the complaint was “unilaterally and inexplicably filed” by Albany Sheriff Craig Apple in the middle of an investigation by Soares’ office, and that it excluded key testimony from the alleged victim.

The complaint was filed in late October, two months after Cuomo resigned as New York’s governor following a damning report from the office of Attorney General Letitia James detailing multiple accusations of sexual harassment from nearly a dozen women. James announced last week that she will run for governor in 2022.

The one-page complaint filed in Albany City Court accuses Cuomo, 63, of forcible touching by putting his hand under a woman’s shirt on Dec. 7.

As the Albany sheriff is standing by his decision to charge former Gov. Andrew Cuomo with groping, the attorney for the alleged victim is now weighing in on the criminal charge. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst reports.

The complaint did not name the woman, but she has identified herself as Brittany Commisso, who worked as one of Cuomo’s executive assistants before he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations in August.

Forcible touching is a misdemeanor in New York, punishable by up to a year in jail, though many cases for first-time offenders are resolved with probation or a shorter jail sentence.

In a statement provided Tuesday, Brittany Commisso’s attorney, Brian Premo, said: “I can confirm only that in this case my client had no control over the filing or prosecution of criminal charges. She had no authority or voice in those decisions. The only thing she has any power over is her resolution to continue to speak the truth and seek  justice in an appropriate civil action, which she will do in due course.”

After the charge was filed, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office said that it had not been informed ahead of time. It has been conducting its own investigation and was expected to take the lead on a decision about whether to prosecute.

Cuomo’s legal team had no immediate comment following the case’s dismissal.