An Albany City Court judge on Friday dismissed a forcible touching complaint against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who briefly appeared virtually in court in his first public appearance since stepping down as governor.
Albany City Court Judge Holly Trexler presided over the hearing that lasted fewer than 10 minutes. She heard from assistant district attorney Jennifer McCanney, who said she would not oppose Cuomo’s lawyer’s motion to dismiss the complaint.
“This court is acutely aware that the fact that the district attorney’s office has unfettered discretion to determine whether to prosecute a particular suspect or case, and that superior courts have long and consistently held that courts may not and should not interfere with the discretion of a district attorney,” Trexler said.
The woman behind the charge, Brittany Commisso, was one of 11 accusers who spoke to investigators hired by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by the former governor. CNN has reached out to an attorney for Commisso for comment.
At a press conference shortly after the hearing, Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin said, “Today, reason and the rule of law prevailed. Not politics, rhetoric or mob mentality.”
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple’s office filed the misdemeanor charge in October, alleging the former governor reached under the shirt of and groped a woman who worked as his executive assistant in late 2020. But in November, Albany District Attorney David Soares signaled issues with the case, calling the complaint that was filed “potentially defective.” He said the complaint misstated the relevant law, did not include a sworn statement from the alleged victim and failed to include pieces of testimony from the accuser that could have been seen as potentially exculpatory. Cuomo has consistently denied the allegations against him.
On Tuesday, Soares filed a letter saying his office would not proceed with the charge, saying it was “impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court” despite finding Commisso “credible.”
Both the Westchester and Nassau County district attorneys recently concluded their investigations into allegations against Cuomo without charges for the former governor, with both offices calling the allegations against him “credible” but not able to be charged under New York law.
While Cuomo will no longer face a forcible touching charge in Albany, this isn’t the end of his legal battles.
Cuomo’s administration has been the subject of a federal probe into the handling of Covid-19 death data in nursing homes. Cuomo is also the subject of an inquiry by federal prosecutors related to allegations of sexual harassment claims.
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