Cuomo’s Albany Criminal Case Over Touching of Woman Dropped
(Bloomberg) -- The allegation that former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo groped a woman in the executive mansion over a year ago is “credible” but can’t be proven in court, the Albany district attorney said, dropping criminal charges against the Democrat.
The announcement Tuesday by Albany District Attorney David Soares, whose jurisdiction includes the state capital, is the latest legal win for Cuomo since he resigned in August over a broader scandal involving his treatment of women.
“I, like most New Yorkers, remain deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here,” Soares said in a statement. “Such conduct has no place in government or in any workplace.”
District attorneys in two other counties recently ended their Cuomo probes without bringing charges, even as they thanked his accusers for coming forward and affirmed that the former governor had touched the women.
The investigations were triggered after New York Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, issued a damning report in August on Cuomo’s conduct with women, including detailed accounts of 11 incidents of sexual harassment that she said violated state and federal law.
Cuomo quit amid the uproar, succeeded by Kathy Hochul, but continues to deny wrongdoing. He has claimed the report was driven by the political ambitions of James, who announced her candidacy for governor the day after he was charged in Albany. She later withdrew from the race.
Cuomo’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, didn’t immediately have a comment when reached by phone.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple filed the charge against Cuomo before Soares had finished his own probe. At the time, Apple said he had a “solid case” based on an “overwhelming amount of evidence” that Cuomo placed his hand under a woman’s blouse and groped her in the governor’s mansion.
Soares signaled early on that he wasn’t happy with Apple’s charge, telling a judge in a court filing late last year that the case was “potentially defective.” Apple said his office had conducted a “methodical” investigation over almost four months, including search warrants, data collection, numerous witness interviews and the review of thousands of documents.
“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,” Soares said in the statement Tuesday.
Cuomo has called for a new investigation into the allegations, alleging James’s probe wasn’t truly independent even though it was carried out by an outside law firm to address his concerns.
On Dec. 23, Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith concluded that Cuomo’s alleged harassment of a state trooper on his security detail at a Long Island race track was “deeply troubling” but did not amount to a crime.
Later that month, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said that while she found “credible evidence” Cuomo inappropriately touched two women in her jurisdiction, including the state trooper, it wasn’t a crime.
James concluded that Cuomo violated the law and said in August that his resignation closed a “sad chapter” in the state’s history. Her 165-page report, backed by thousands of pages of evidence, including interview transcripts, affirmed claims that Cuomo groped the women, made comments about their appearances and sex lives and told them he was “lonely” and “wanted to be touched.” She also affirmed claims that Cuomo grabbed women’s breasts and buttocks.
James left it to local law enforcement to weigh charges.
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