Albany DA won’t prosecute groping charge against Cuomo

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not be prosecuted in Albany County. District Attorney David Soares says his office will not pursue the case against Cuomo for forcible touching and requesting the charge be dismissed.

Cuomo was facing a misdemeanor, accused of groping an aide at the executive mansion in December 2020.

"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," Soares said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Cuomo was scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday.

The criminal complaint filed by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office did not name the aide, but she has identified herself as Brittany Commisso. She was one of Cuomo’s executive assistants before he resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations in August. Commisso says Cuomo slid his hand up her blouse and grabbed her breast when they were alone in an office at the governor’s mansion in Albany in late 2020.

Despite resigning from office, Cuomo has vehemently denied groping Commisso.

Sheriff Craig Apple’s office filed the complaint against Cuomo in October, accusing him of forcible touching in connection with Commisso’s allegation.

Soares later criticized Apple for “unilaterally and inexplicably” filing a complaint without first consulting with his office.

Apple has said the court paperwork was processed quickly, before he had a chance to consult with the district attorney. But he said he was confident in the strength of the case.

The Times Union first reported Monday evening that Soares would not prosecute Cuomo.

The decision not to prosecute the former governor follows a trend set by other prosecutors across the state. The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday informed Cuomo’s former attorney it had closed its investigation into the administration’s oversight of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said her office would not file charges involving allegations that Cuomo had inappropriately kissed two women on the cheek — including a state trooper assigned to his protective detail.

Albany County D.A. David Soares released the following statement:

"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. 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. 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," commented District Attorney Soares.