Former NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces misdemeanor complaint

October 28, 2021
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Monday, May 10, 2021 in New York.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was hit with a misdemeanor criminal complaint Thursday in connection with an alleged incident of forceable touching at the Executive Mansion that helped lead to his downfall.

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office filed a complaint accusing the governor of reaching under the blouse of a woman and grabbing her left breast in the late afternoon of Dec. 7, 2020.

The complaint, filed Thursday by investigator Amy Kowalski, accuses Cuomo of “knowingly and intentionally” committing the crime of forcible touching, a class A misdemeanor. 

Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration, confirmed the complaint. 

“Andrew M. Cuomo did intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim and onto her intimate body part,” the complaint reads. 

“Specifically, the victim’s left breast for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires, all contrary to the provisions of the statute in such case made and provided.”

The accuser’s name was redacted in a copy of the complaint provided by the court administration office, but she has publicly identified herself as Brittany Commisso, 33, an executive assistant to the governor.

Cuomo resigned Aug. 23, three weeks after state Attorney General Letitia James’ office issued a bombshell report that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women, nine of whom were state employees.

One of those women was Commisso, who told James’ investigators that Cuomo had pulled her in for a close hug late last year at the Executive Mansion, where Cuomo lived and often worked. Cuomo then reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast over her bra, according to the report.

Cuomo had no immediate comment. A grand jury will ultimately decide whether Cuomo is indicted. 

Cuomo has repeatedly denied that he inappropriately touched anyone. In August, his attorney, Rita Glavin, specifically denied Commisso’s claim.

“The governor has repeatedly denied that ever took place, and quite frankly, when she first raised this in early March, he was stunned,” Glavin said.

Jon Campbell is the New York State Team editor for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.

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