The Albany County sherrif on Saturday (August 7) announced that his office had begun investigating a criminal complaint filed against New York governor Andrew Cuomo by a former aide earlier this week.
“I can tell you that attorney Brian Premo and his client did, in fact, come in. She filed a formal report alleging criminal conduct against the governor. The conduct was sexual in nature. The meeting at that point commences the investigative process for the Albany County sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Craig Apple told reporters at a press conference.
The woman, whose name has not been made public, was an executive assistant who told state investigators that Cuomo groped her breast on one occasion. It is the gravest of the sexual harassment allegations faced by Cuomo, whose once ascendant political career as part of one of the country’s most powerful Democratic Party families is on the brink of collapse.
The former aide was one of at least 11 women who state investigators this week said were sexually harassed by Cuomo, a Democrat. The governor is resisting widespread calls to resign, including from U.S. President Joe Biden, and faces impeachment by state lawmakers.
The executive assistant told investigators that Cuomo called her to the mansion in November 2020, led her into a room, closed the door, slid his hand under her blouse and cupped her breast over her bra, according to the investigators’ report, released on Tuesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Asked why he used the term “victim” to describe the complainant, Apple pointed to James’ report.
“I think we’ve all read the Attorney General’s report. I think we know what’s in it. At this point, I’m very comfortable and safe saying that she is, in fact, a victim. I commend all of them for coming forward. This is a very tough time. And for something that, you know, is going to put a lot of stress and pressure and pressure on on a victim, I give them all the credit in the world,” Apple said.
Journalists asked Apple if he was concerned about retaliation from the Cuomo administration as he proceeded with the investigation.
“I’m the County Sheriff. I’m not going to be intimidated. I’m not going to be coerced. That would not play out well for anybody,” Apple said.
Shortly after his press conference, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement saying her office would “cooperate fully with the Albany sheriff and turn over all evidence related to this complainant. Similarly, we will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, as appropriate.”
(Production: Pavithra George)