New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks from the One World Trade Center Tower while making an announcement in New York City, June 15, 2021.
Mike Segar | Reuters
The Albany County, New York, District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday said it was dropping a misdemeanor criminal charge filed against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo related to a claim he forcibly touched a female aide in the governor’s mansion in December 2020.
Albany D.A. David Soares said the woman’s complaint was credible, but that “after review of all the available evidence we have concluded that we cannot meet our burden at trial.”
“As such we have notified the Court that we are declining to prosecute this matter and requesting the charges filed by the Albany County Sheriff be dismissed,” Soares said in a statement.
The dismissal came three days before Cuomo was due to appear in court for the first time in the case, which was filed in October by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. And it came after several other prosecutors indicated they would not file charges against Cuomo.
The Albany complaint was lodged two months after the three-term incumbent Democrat resigned on the heels of a damning report commissioned by the New York Attorney General’s Office that found he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women.
The criminal complaint said that on Dec. 7, 2020, when the aide visited him in the Executive Mansion in Albany, Cuomo intentionally, “and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim …. and onto her intimate body part.′
“Specifically, the [victim’s] left breast for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires,” the complaint said.
Soares had chafed at the filing of the complaint by the Sheriff’s Office, which was made without advance warning to the prosecutor’s office.
But Soares’ office until Tuesday had not given any sign of dropping the case.
“I, like most New Yorkers, remain deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here. Such conduct has no place in government or in any workplace,” Soares said Tuesday.
“Although avenues for criminal prosecution in these cases are sometimes limited, I encourage victims of workplace harassment and abuse to continue to come forward and bring these issues to light so that these important discussions can continue.”
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.