Albany DA declines to prosecute former Gov. Andrew Cuomo on forcible touching charge

“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,” Albany County District Attorney David Soares said in a statement Tuesday. “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,” he said.

The district attorney’s office noted that the decision to discontinue criminal prosecution is unrelated “to any possible civil liability.”

Soares said in a November letter that filings in the misdemeanor forcible touching case against Cuomo are “potentially defective” and asked to delay Cuomo’s arraignment on a charge filed by the Albany County Sheriff. Soares noted that the filing was “unilaterally and inexplicably filed” by Albany Sheriff Craig Apple’s office and failed to include a sworn statement by the victim.

Cuomo has denied the allegation. CNN has reached out to his attorney, Rita Glavin, for comment. CNN also reached out to Cuomo representative Rich Azzopardi.

The Albany Times Union first reported the story.

CNN reported in October that the Albany County sheriff filed a misdemeanor forcible touching allegation in an Albany court against the former governor.

The complaint alleged that Cuomo “did intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim (redacted) and onto her intimate body part” and that he touched the victim’s left breast “for the purposes of degrading and gratifying his sexual desires.”

According to the state attorney general’s report, Brittany Commisso, a former assistant to Cuomo, told investigators that Cuomo grabbed her buttocks during hugs and a photo.

Brian Premo, attorney for Commisso, told CNN Tuesday, “I can confirm only that in this case my client had no control over the filing or prosecution of criminal charges. She had no authority or voice in those decisions.”

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

In the last two weeks, the Westchester County district attorney and the Nassau County district attorney in New York also declined to pursue charges against Cuomo. Those cases focused on different allegations.

CNN’s Mark Morales and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment