Forget impeachment. Could Andrew Cuomo face a perp walk? The woman cited as “executive assistant #1” in Letitia James’ report has filed a criminal complaint in Albany. The exact charge isn’t yet clear:
A criminal complaint has been filed against Gov. Andrew Cuomo by a former staffer for an incident in 2019, the Albany County Sheriff’s department confirmed to News 4 New York.
Although News 4 New York could not independently confirm what was in the complaint, The Post reports, citing Sheriff Craig Apple, that “the victim, who was identified as “Executive Assistant #1,” in Attorney General Letitia James’ sexual harassment report, filed the complaint during a brief Thursday afternoon meeting with sheriff’s officials, who have since contacted the Albany County District Attorney’s office,” adding that it is “possible the governor could be arrested if the allegations are substantiated.”
For those who haven’t yet read all the details in the AG’s report on allegations of sexual harassment, this accuser alleged two actual assaults in 2019:
The unidentified victim lodged the most serious accusation against the governor detailed in AG James’ report, alleging he pulled her in for a hug, reached under her blouse and fondled one of her breasts in the Executive Mansion in Albany on Nov. 16.
“I mean it was—he was like cupping my breast. He cupped my breast,” the woman told investigators on AG James’ team.
“I have to tell you it was—at the moment I was in such shock that I could just tell you that I just remember looking down seeing his hand, seeing the top of my bra and I remember it was like a little even the cup—the kind of bra that I had to the point I could tell you doesn’t really fit me properly, it was a little loose, I just remember seeing exactly that,” she added, according to the report.
The victim also told investigators that Cuomo groped her after asking her to snap selfies inside his office at the Executive Mansion on Dec. 31, 2019.
As she took the photo, Cuomo “moved his hand to grab her butt cheek and began to rub it” for at least five seconds, the AG report alleges.
After James released her report, prosecutors in fiver jurisdictions announced their intent to review the record to see if criminal charges were warranted. One of those was Albany County, whose review will be accelerated by the filing of the criminal complaint.
The governor’s attorney denied Tuesday that any assault had taken place:
Cuomo’s lawyer Rita Glavin said in a response to the report Tuesday that the governor “never groped Ms. X,” adding, “This claim is false, as the Governor has stated repeatedly and unequivocally.”
Well, now Cuomo might have a venue to pursue his defense. He asked people to give him an opportunity for due process, and now … Cuomo has one. It might end up being multiple opportunities if more women take action to get criminal charges filed, and/or if prosecutors decide that James’ report justifies filing charges on their own.
What does that mean for Cuomo’s impeachment? Yesterday Cuomo committed to cooperation with the impeachment committee. Now that he’s facing a criminal charge, his attorneys will advise him to keep quiet. That will make his position even more untenable with his fellow Democrats in Albany, who had already warned Cuomo that he’d be better off resigning:
If the Assembly does vote for articles of impeachment, the case would go to the state Senate for trial.
Many hope it won’t come to that, because the Cuomo lawyers would face the possibility they would have to cross-examine some of the 11 women accusers and try to discredit them.
“As a former federal prosecutor looking at the evidence in this case, it’s overwhelming. You are always looking for a pattern of behavior … and in this case, all of that was present,” Long Island state Senator Todd Kaminsky said.
“Isn’t it better to resign on your own volition than get kicked out?” Queens state Senator John Liu remarked.
It sure beats getting convicted of a felony, that’s for sure. Stay tuned.