Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

A New York State prosecutor said on Tuesday he was dropping a criminal charge accusing former New York governor Andrew Cuomo of touching an assistant after concluding that the burden of proof was not in the court can not be complied with.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ decision came three days before the former Democratic governor had to answer the charge of misconduct before a judge, following a decision by other state prosecutors to drop similar charges.

“While we found the complainant cooperative and credible in this case, after reviewing all the available evidence, we concluded that we could not meet our burden during the trial,” Soares said in a statement.

Soares said he was “deeply upset” about the allegation, but requested that a complaint lodged by the Albany sheriff in October be dismissed.

Cuomo thank you in August to a state investigation concluded he sexually harassed 11 women. He served 10 years as governor of the fourth most populous U.S. state. While avoiding criminal charges, Cuomo is still likely to face civil claims arising from the allegations amid other legal problems.

The Albany complaint did not name the woman, but she identified herself as Brittany Commisso, who was one of Cuomo’s executive assistants at the state – run governor’s mansion.

Commisso “had no control over the filing or prosecution of criminal charges. She had no authority or voice in those decisions, “her lawyer, Brian Premo, said in a statement on Monday.

“The only thing she has any power over is her decision to continue to speak the truth and seek justice in an appropriate civil action, which she will do in due course,” he added.

Commisso says Cuomo slipped his hand on her blouse and grabbed her chest when they were alone in an office at the governor’s mansion in Albany in late 2020.

Her testimony was included in the report, released in August by State Attorney General Letitia James, which concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed several women. Cuomo het dispute the report’s findings as inaccurate and biased.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a news conference.New York Attorney General Letitia James has documented several claims against the former governor [File: Kathy Willens/AP Photo]

“I knew, and he also knew it was wrong,” Commisso told investigators from the Attorney General’s office. “And that I did not invite it in any way, shape or form, nor did I ask for it. I did not want it. “

Cuomo strongly denied that he touched Commisso.

“I will have to lose my head to do something – something like that. “It would be an act of madness to touch a woman’s breast and make myself vulnerable to a woman for such an accusation,” Cuomo told prosecutors investigating allegations of sexual harassment for the attorney general. a fellow democrat.

The development in Albany comes after two prosecutors in the suburbs of New York separately announced that Cuomo would not face criminal charges for allegations involving other women.

A Long Island prosecutor announced on December 23 that there would be no charges after a female state official told Cuomo’s security details to state investigators that he pressed his hand over her belly at an event in Belmont Park in September 2019. has.

Five days later, the district attorney in Westchester County announced that Cuomo would not stand trial on charges stemming from allegations by those same soldiers and another woman that the former governor had planted unwanted kisses on their cheeks.

In both cases, prosecutors said the allegations were credible but that they could not file criminal charges.

On Monday, a lawyer for Cuomo said the Manhattan district attorney’s office told him it had closed an investigation into how Cuomo’s office handled nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The office declined to comment and did not disclose what he was looking for.

But Cuomo has faced public scrutiny over his administration’s reporting on Death of nursing home residents when the pandemic hit in 2020 and beyond, an order banning homes from turning away recovering hospital patients because they had COVID-19.

The Attorney General has meanwhile investigated Cuomo’s use of assistants to help produce and promote his pandemic memoirs. Cuomo said they volunteered and used their personal time.

The New York State Ethics Commission last month ordered Cuomo to refund more than $ 5 million in compensation for the book, entitled, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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