According to an investigation from the New York attorney general, concluded in August, former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed and acted inappropriately towards at least 11 women. Attempts to criminally prosecute followed from several attorneys, but there is reportedly no evidence to substantiate the accusations.
An Albany City Court judge refused to initiate a criminal proceeding against former Governor Cuomo on Friday during his first court hearing in the case.
Cuomo, who attended the hearing remotely with his defense attorneys Michael McDermott and Rita Glavin, did not make a statement or comment on the complaints of “forcible touching.” Instead, the defense rested on paperwork and evidence previously filed, according to Fox News.
The case was related to accusations and subsequent a criminal complaint filed by former Cuomo staffer Brittany Commisso, who is one of 11 women that accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. According to her, the former governor harassed her in 2019-2020 and even put his hand under her blouse inside the Executive Mansion.
Earlier on Wednesday, Albany County Attorney David Soares dropped charges of sexual harassment against Cuomo, saying that the prosecutor’s office studied the possibility of bringing charges under other articles, but none of them corresponds to the facts that prosecutors have.
According to Soares, the “statutory elements of New York law make this case impossible to prove” despite the complainant in this case being found “cooperative and credible.”
“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,” Soares said in a statement. “We cannot meet our burden at trial.”
Commisso, in turn, commented on Soares’ decision, saying it was very disappointing, as it “deters women from coming forward.”
“I don’t think that it’s teaching anyone anything. It’s not showing or proving a good message,” she told the New York Post.
Last month, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah, who had been investigating accusations from another woman, known from the official report as “Trooper #1,” said that there is no legal grounds to press criminal charges against the ex-governor.
New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated an investigation into Cuomo in March last year following allegations from several women, many of them from his office, who claimed that the governor had made insulting comments, groped and kissed some of them without their consent.
James revealed the result of her inquiry in August, stating that the then-governor violated the law by “sexually harassing multiple women — including former and current state employees — by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments.”
Cuomo, following calls for his resignation and impeachment from many members of the state legislature and other lawmakers, resigned in August, but denied the accusations, saying that the campaign against him was politically motivated.