New York prosecutor drops sex crime case against ex-governor Cuomo

By Jonathan Allen and Kanishka Singh

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A New York prosecutor will not pursue a misdemeanor sex crime charge against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, saying he could not prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares said in a statement on Tuesday that his office had investigated the complaint made by former Cuomo aide Brittany Commisso and that he found her to be "cooperative and credible."

"I, like most New Yorkers, remain deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here," his statement said. "Such conduct has no place in government or in any workplace."

Cuomo, a Democrat who ran New York for a decade, resigned in August after a state investigation concluded that he sexually harassed 11 women, most of them state employees.

Commisso, then a Cuomo aide in her early 30s, said Cuomo, 64, groped her breast at the Executive Mansion in Albany in 2020. In October, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple filed https://www.reuters.com/world/us/misdemeanor-complaint-related-sex-crime-filed-against-ex-ny-governor-cuomo-court-2021-10-28 a criminal complaint in court that charged Cuomo with forcible touching.

The complaint appeared to take even the prosecutor by surprise. He asked that Cuomo's initial court appearance be postponed to Jan. 7, saying Apple had acted unilaterally and that the sheriff's complaint was "potentially defective."

Cuomo's lawyer Rita Glavin did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the sheriff declined to comment. Cuomo has said he has never touched anyone inappropriately and that his efforts to be a friendly boss may have been mistaken for flirting.

Commisso expressed disappointment about the decision by the Albany County district attorney. "I think it's deterring women from coming forward," she told the New York Post on Tuesday.

Her lawyer, Brian Premo, said Commisso intended to pursue a civil case against Cuomo.

Commisso's complaint was the most serious individual case discussed in the state attorney general's report that led to Cuomo's downfall, although news reports said the U.S. Justice Department began investigating whether there was a pattern of Cuomo harassing female employees.

Other county prosecutors have investigated some of the other individual complaints and declined to bring charges.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Howard Goller and Jonathan Oatis)