Cuomo Charged With Misdemeanor Sex Crime, Court Says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a vaccination site on Monday, March 8, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) speaks at a vaccination site at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on March 8, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images)

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has been charged with forcible touching, according to a criminal complaint filed in court in Albany.

Chief public information officer for the New York state court system Lucian Chalfen told TPM that the complaint charged Cuomo with a misdemeanor sex crime. He later emailed TPM a redacted version of the complaint.

“A Misdemeanor Complaint against former Governor Andrew Cuomo has been filed in Albany City Court,” Chalfen wrote in an email to TPM.

The complaint accuses Cuomo of groping a person whose identity is redacted on Dec. 7, 2020 at the Governor’s Executive Mansion in Albany.

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“Specifically, the victim’s left breast for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires, all contrary to the provisions of the statute in such case made and provided,” the complaint reads.

The complaint references a list of attached evidence, which was not included in the public version of the complaint.

The list included testimony from the investigation of New York Attorney General Letitia James. It also suggests that prosecutors obtained texts from Cuomo’s cell phone, and “New York State Police Aviation records” for the day of the alleged groping.

The complaint describes the offense of forcible touching as “when such person intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person, or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire.”

In New York State, forcible touching is a class A misdemeanor. It carries a maximum sentence of one year behind bars or three years probation.

The account provided in the charging document matches that provided by Brittany Commisso, a former executive assistant to Cuomo. She gave the same date for the alleged groping incident. The Albany Times-Union identified her as the alleged victim in the complaint.

An attorney for Commisso, Brian Premo, did not immediately return TPM’s requests for comment.

Rita Glavin, an attorney for Cuomo, also did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment. Cuomo has previously said that Commisso, referring to her as his former executive assistant, initiated what he characterized as “hugs.”

The charges mark a dizzying descent for Cuomo, who started the pandemic off in 2020 by presiding over a massive public health crisis while basking in the spotlight provided by the Trump administration’s inattentive and haphazard response to the virus.

But since those heights, Cuomo has been beset by two scandals: one over allegations that he covered up large amounts of nursing home deaths related to a policy change he implemented in the pandemic’s early days, and another over a torrent of sexual misconduct allegations.

Cuomo held on, but a report into the harassment allegations by state Attorney General Letitia James in August provided a damning account of his interactions with female subordinates. He resigned weeks after the report’s release.

The document’s release follows confusion around whether charges against Cuomo had, in fact, been filed correctly.

The confusion consisted of this: on Thursday afternoon, local outlet NYS Focus landed what appeared to be a huge scoop. Andrew Cuomo had been charged with forcible touching after an investigation by the local sheriff’s office.

A clerk at the court confirmed that the complaint had been filed to NYS Focus.

But other clerks seemed less willing to discuss the matter in the hour following NYS Focus’s scoop.

TPM tried to call Albany City Criminal Court, and was met twice with referrals to Chalfen. At the same time, the Albany Sherriff’s Office declined to comment.

But within an hour, the Albany Times-Union published a story saying that, in fact, the complaint had been filed in error.

Per the paper, an investigator from the Sheriff’s office met with a court official on Thursday for “guidance” if law enforcement were to file a complaint. The paper cited an anonymous source saying that someone in the court then issued the summons, before it was leaked.

Just as that story broke, something else happened: Chalfen sent out a statement to TPM and other news organizations apparently confirming that Cuomo had, in fact, been charged.

Read the complaint here:

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