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Criminal summons for misdemeanor forcible touching filed against Cuomo

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A criminal summons charging former governor Andrew Cuomo with misdemeanor forcible touching was filed Thursday in the City of Albany Court.

The complaint accuses Cuomo of grabbing a woman’s breast under her blouse on Dec. 7, 2020, on the second floor of the Governor’s Executive Mansion. It comes from the Office of Court Administration, from an investigator with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

The criminal summons calls for Cuomo to appear in court on Nov. 17, 2021, at 2:30 p.m.

Though, The Albany Times Union is reporting that the paperwork was filed before the Sheriff’s Department or the Albany County District Attorney’s Office had made a decision about whether or not to formally file charges.

A statement released by the Albany County District Attorney’s Office Thursday evening seems to support that narrative, saying:

“Like the rest of the public, we were surprised to learn today [Thursday] that a criminal complaint was filed in Albany City Court by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office against Andrew Cuomo. The Office of Court Administration has since made that filing public. Our office will not be commenting further on this case.”

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple released the following statement Thursday:

“Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr. reports the issuance of a Criminal Summons out of the Albany City Court for former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

“On Thursday, October 28, 2021, Sheriff’s Investigators presented Albany City Court with evidence for their review to determine the most appropriate legal pathway moving forward on the investigation. Sheriff’s Investigators have been conducting an investigation into former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo since August 5, 2021 for a criminal complaint of forcible touching and have determined that there was enough probable cause to present evidence to the court.

“Albany City Court has issued a Criminal Summons for Andrew M. Cuomo to appear in court on November 17, 2021, at 2:30 p.m.”

The Times Union says sources tell them the summons was issued without the consent of the alleged victim, Brittany Commisso, or her attorney.

Commisso was interviewed on CBS This Morning back in August. She was an executive assistant on Cuomo’s staff when she says he groped her.

She filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo, giving a report to the county sheriff on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Cuomo announced his resignation on Aug. 9, and his last day was on Aug. 23.

This all followed a scathing report from the New York Attorney General’s Office, which was made public on Aug. 3, and concluded Cuomo sexually harassed a total of 11 women in and out of state government and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers.

New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement following the news:

“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate allegations that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor. The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report.”

When he stepped down, Cuomo offered apologies but denied inappropriately touching anyone.

The former governor’s lawyers have repeatedly denied the allegations that Cuomo grabbed Commisso’s breast, saying she is lying, but earlier this month, subpoenaed records supported Commisso’s timeline of events.

On Thursday, Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin released the following statement in response to the charges:

“Governor Cuomo has never assaulted anyone, and Sheriff Apple’s motives here are patently improper. Sheriff Apple didn’t even tell the District Attorney what he was doing. But Apple’s behavior is no surprise given (1) his August 7 press conference where he essentially pronounced the Governor guilty before doing an investigation, and (2) his Office’s leaking of grand jury information. This is not professional law enforcement; this is politics.”

Another investigation from the Assembly Judiciary Committee is now finished and committee member Marjorie Byrnes (R, 133) says to expect a report soon.

“There’s going to be a lot of information it’s released that is something the public should know about, should be aware of,” Byrnes said. “I’m not surprised that at least, on this one, and potentially one or two others, if charges aren’t brought.”

Legal analyst Peter Pullano joined News10NBC at 5:30 to talk about this case. “This is a criminal charge and a class A misdemeanor for illegal touching. The sentence could be up to a year in jail or three years’ probation, if he is found guilty.”

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