Cuomo May Face Misdemeanor Charges after Complaint filed, Top Aide Resigns as Governor Faces Impeachment

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Cuomo faces possible misdemeanor charges after a criminal complaint was filed against him for sexual misconduct. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A woman has filed a complaint against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. At a press conference, Sheriff Craig Apple said that the investigation is in the “infant stages.” He added that the complaint is “criminal in nature” and that the alleged conduct was “sexual in nature.” 

“The end result could either be it sounds substantiated and an arrest is made and it would be up to the DA to prosecute the arrest… Just because of who it is we are not going to rush it or delay it,” the Sheriff said.

The woman who filed the complaint has been identified as “Executive Assistant #1” mentioned in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation report on Cuomo’s sexual harassment allegations.

The report, released on August 3, accused Cuomo of having “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees.” It also blamed the governor’s Executive Chamber for creating an environment that “allowed the sexual harassment to occur and persist.” According to investigators, at least 11 women were harassed by Cuomo.

Albany County Sheriff’s office has reportedly reached out to James’ office, seeking investigative materials used in the report. The office will then interview the victim, Executive Assistant #1. It will consult with the Albany district attorney’s office to determine whether they should proceed with a criminal charge against Cuomo. Sheriff Apple stated that Cuomo faces misdemeanor charges based on the attorney general’s report.

According to James, Executive Assistant #1 worked at the Executive Chamber with Cuomo and also the Executive Mansion at weekends. She was tasked with managing the governor’s phone calls, editing and drafting documents, taking dictation, and similar administrative functions.

She had testified that Cuomo intentionally touched her on her “butt and the breast,” had wandering hands during a tour of the Executive Mansion, kissed her on the cheek during a holiday party in 2019, and kissed her on the lips during a hug. On one occasion, Cuomo asked to take a selfie with her and used the opportunity to touch her inappropriately. 

Cuomo has rejected all claims of sexual harassment. His lawyer Rita Glavin accused Executive Assistant #1 of lying about the governor. “He is 63 years old. He has spent 40 years in public life and for him to all of the sudden be accused of a sexual assault of an executive assistant that he really doesn’t know, doesn’t pass muster,” Glavin said at a press conference.

Five district attorney offices are investigating Cuomo for the alleged sexual harassment incidents mentioned in James’ report. These include offices from Albany, Manhattan, Nassau County, Westchester County, and Oswego County.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 04: People participate in a protest against N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo and protest for a moratorium on evictions on August 4, 2021, in New York City. The dual issues arose after New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation concluded that Governor Cuomo did sexually harass multiple women and the eviction moratorium instated by the CDC due to the COVID-19 pandemic is slated to elapse at the end of the month. (Image: STEPHANIE KEITH via Getty Images)

Resignation

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa has announced her resignation. DeRosa has worked with the Cuomo administration since 2013 and became “secretary to the governor” in 2017. She often appeared by Cuomo’s side when he conducted news briefings and used to answer questions from reporters when the governor didn’t offer replies.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years. New Yorkers’ resilience, strength, and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day… Personally, the past 2 years have been emotionally and mentally trying. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state,” DeRosa said in a statement.

In James’ report on Cuomo’s sexual harassment allegations, DeRosa was mentioned 187 times. The report accused DeRosa of being the central figure in Cuomo’s office retaliating against Lindsey Boylan, the first woman who came forward exposing the governor’s sexual misconduct. Following the release of the report, many lawmakers, including Democrats, have called for Cuomo’s resignation.

“My sense is from what I’m hearing is he’s still looking for ways to fight this and get his side of the story out… I just think that he’s going to, at some point, see that the political support is just not anywhere near enough to even make an attempt worthwhile,” state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Impeachment

The New York Assembly has been conducting an investigation into Cuomo since March. The Assembly’s judiciary committee recently sent a letter to Cuomo’s lawyer, stating that they have subpoenaed certain documents and that Cuomo’s time to respond was almost finished. The governor has until August 13 to provide any additional evidence that supports his case.

“We write to inform you that the Committee’s investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client… Accordingly, we invite you to provide any additional evidence or written submissions that you would like the Committee to consider before its work concludes,” the letter said.

The task of carrying out Cuomo’s impeachment would fall on the New York State Assembly which is overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats who account for 106 of the 150 seats. To impeach Cuomo, 67 votes are needed. If the Assembly decides to impeach the governor, he will be stripped from decision-making powers and be sent to a trial held by the New York Senate. Only if two-thirds of the state Senate finds him guilty will he be officially impeached. Democrats control the Senate with 43 out of 63 seats.

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