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The Albany County district attorney has declined to prosecute disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a sexual misconduct charge, the District Attorney’s (DA) office announced Tuesday.
Cuomo was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.
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“While many have an opinion regarding the allegations against the former Governor, the Albany County DA’s Office is the only one who has a burden to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” District Attorney David Soares said in a statement. “While we found the complainant in this case cooperative and credible, 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.”
“I, like most New Yorkers, remain deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here,” he continued. “Such conduct has no place in government or in any workplace. 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.”
Brittany Commisso, a former Cuomo staffer, claimed that Cuomo groped her at the governor’s mansion last year, which the former governor denies.
Cuomo was charged with a misdemeanor sex crime for alleged forcible touching in October, two months after he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations brought against him by 11 women who worked for him.
Marianna Wang, an attorney for two of Cuomo’s accusers, Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, issued a statement saying her clients were “not surprised” by the DA’s motion to dismiss the charge.
“Although my clients are disappointed, they are not surprised,” Wang said. “Unfortunately, our penal laws and system frequently do not properly punish the acts of so many abusive men in power. Cuomo’s conduct was nonetheless unlawful and deeply harmful to the women who were subjected to it, as the Attorney General and Assembly found in their reports.
“My clients remain grateful for those investigations and above all to the other women who had the courage to come forward,” Wang added. “Cuomo and men like him should not be in positions of power.”
Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin could not immediately be reached for comment.
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The news comes after the Manhattan district attorney’s office closed its investigation into Cuomo’s handling of nursing home COVID-19 deaths without bringing charges against him.
“I was contacted today by the head of the Elder Care Unit from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who informed me they have closed its investigation involving the Executive Chamber and nursing homes,” Elkan Abramowitz, a former federal prosecutor who had been hired to represent Cuomo, said Monday. “I was told that after a thorough investigation — as we have said all along — there was no evidence to suggest that any laws were broken.”