The woman who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of groping her in the Executive Mansion—in what the attorney general’s office described as the “most egregious allegations of physical touching“—has complained criminally to the Albany Sheriff’s office, the New York Post first reported on Friday.
Multiple news organizations initially described the development as the accuser filing a criminal complaint, including ABC News and the New York Times, but an attorney for the woman making the accusations calls the procedure more complicated.
“My client did not prepare or sign any document related to her contact with the ACSD to pursue a criminal action based on her complaint,” attorney Brian Premo told Law&Crime in an email. “She was informed that the exact process will be dictated by the ACSD and ACDA Office. They have both indicated that they will first obtain and review the AG documents and then proceed in the manner they set. I understand the Sheriff stated that she ‘filed a complaint’ but I assume that is a vernacular for opening an investigative file based on her oral complaint pending the same.”
The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a voicemail from Law&Crime requesting comment and a copy of the complaint.
According to the Post, the complainant is the same woman identified in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) 165-page investigative report as “Executive Assistant #1.”
“[O]ver time, the Governor’s behavior toward Executive Assistant #1 escalated to more intimate physical contact, including regular hugs and kisses on the cheek (and at least one kiss on the lips), culminating in incidents where the Governor grabbed Executive Assistant #1’s butt while they took a selfie in the Executive Mansion, and where the Governor, during a hug, reached under Executive Assistant #1’s blouse and grabbed her breast,” the report states.
Cuomo denied those allegations in a defiant press conference on Tuesday, following the release of the attorney general report.
“Let me be clear, that never happened,” Cuomo insisted.
After the New York Times published a story about the governor’s former aide Charlotte Bennett’s allegations against Cuomo, the executive assistant reportedly testified: “I was going to take this to the grave.”
In the attorney general, 11 women stepped forward with complaints against Cuomo. The governor has denied all of the allegations.
The executive assistant claims that the incident at the Executive Mansion happened in November 2020.
In an 26-page “position statement” by Cuomo’s lawyer Rita Glavin, the governor denied the allegations by the woman he calls “Ms. X.”
“He has never behaved in this manner and never would,” Glavin wrote. “It would be a pure act of insanity for the Governor—who is 63 years old and lives his life under a microscope—to grab an employee’s breast in the middle of the workday at his Mansion Office. This simply did not happen.”
Cuomo’s lawyer describes “Ms. X” as one of several administrative assistants who worked for his office, who started working for him during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She first granted an anonymous interview to the Albany Times Union, who published her story this year on April 7th.
“I said to him, I said, ‘You’re going to get us in trouble,'” she told the paper. “I didn’t know what else to say. … It was pretty much like ‘What are you doing?’ That’s when he slammed the door (shut). He said, ‘I don’t care.'”
The last three words were quoted in the attorney general’s report—and the governor’s position statement disputing the account.
Expressing contrition only for misunderstandings of his alleged motives and intent, Cuomo has resisted enormous political pressure for his resignation since sexual harassment allegations against him started trickling out to the press. He has hemorrhaged allies in his party. On the federal level, President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer all demanded his resignation, and once-quiet or supportive state Democrats have been clamoring for his impeachment.
Update—Aug. 6 at 6:51 p.m.: This story has been updated to include a statement by the accuser’s attorney, who disputes that his client filed a written complaint and clarifies the criminal procedure that he says the sheriff’s office articulated to him.
(Image via Spencer Platt at Getty Images)
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