The Albany Police Department has been formally notified by the New York State Police and the New York State Executive Chamber about a recent alleged incident involving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) with an unidentified aide that could rise “to the level of a crime or assault.”
The Times Union Wednesday night detailed allegations of the sixth accuser has lodged against the governor earlier this week. A person familiar with the unidentified aide claims revealed to the Times Union disturbing new details of egregious behavior attributed to the governor to date, alleging Cuomo aggressively grouped the aide when she was alone in his private residence at Executive Mansion late last year. Under false pretense, the governor closed the door and “allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her.”
The unidentified aide whose account was first reported by the Times Union Tuesday came forward after watching Cuomo addressing the first three accusations in a March 3 news conference. She apparently became emotional during the presser and told a female supervisor about her past encounters with the governor. One supervisor reported the allegation to an attorney in the governor’s office Monday.
Albany Police currently has not opened an official investigation but has “reached out to the victim’s attorney and offered up any other police assistance,” as per protocol and the woman herself has not contacted nor neither filed an official complaint with the department, a police spokesperson confirms.
“At this time, there has been no formal criminal complaint and there is no active criminal investigation,” Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Albany police said.
Acting Counsel to the Governor, Beth Garvey confirmed that she had referred the matter to State Police after a lawyer for the female aide told the governor’s office that the aide did not want to file a report.
“As a matter of state policy when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” Garvey said in a statement, acknowledged that state officials had referred the matter for possible criminal investigation.
“If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation. In this case, the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” Garvey added.
A source at Albany County District Attorney’s Office said that the governor couldn’t be prosecuted unless his accuser directly reports the charges “with a law enforcement agency, whether that be the DA’s office or a police agency,” and cooperates with authorities.
Under New York Penal Law, it is illegal to forcibly touch a person’s “intimate parts” to gratify “sexual desire” or to degrade or abuse the victim. Such conduct, called “forcible touching,” is considered a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
The aide had not filed a formal complaint with the governor’s office, the Times Union reported, but the allegation was forwarded this week to New York Attorney General Letitia James office.
Following the Times Union report, Cuomo specifically denied the newest accusation, but called the report “gut-wrenching.”
“I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching,” Cuomo said Wednesday evening, adding that he would not “speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation,” citing an ongoing investigation overseen by the state attorney general.
Six women in total, including four former aides to the governor, have come forward publicly in the last three weeks with their claims of sexual harassment allegations and other inappropriate behavior against Cuomo. One woman — Karen Hinton was a former aide to Cuomo twenty years ago during his time at HUD under the Clinton administration accused the governor over the weekend of inappropriate behavior. Only one woman never met or worked for the governor, but her first time meeting him during the wedding reception in 2019 was marked with Cuomo making unwanted advances toward her and planted an unsolicited kiss on her cheek.
James has assembled an independent investigative team to probe Cuomo’s behavior allegations. Meanwhile, federal investigators are looking into Cuomo’s substantial scandal he is also currently embroiled in over his administration hiding the real number of deaths tied to COVID outbreaks in nursing homes. In Washington, congressional lawmakers are calling for multiple committee hearings and investigations into the Cuomo administration’s handling of the pandemic and the “cover-up” that Cuomo conducted in misleading federal officials to avoid political accountability.
In his March 3 press conference, Cuomo begged New Yorkers, to “wait for the facts,” before jumping to any conclusion. Less than a week later, Cuomo defiantly rebuffing calls, including those from within his own party for his resignations, telling them there is “no way” he is resigning just based solely on the recent allegations.
Cuomo is facing growing political pressure from local and national New York lawmakers to resign in the last five days alone. Following the fourth and fifth allegations against Cuomo over the weekend, only 50 New York elected officials from both parties of the state’s legislature. As of Thursday morning, the number has doubled with now more than 50 Democrats, giving the majority in the state Assembly to launch any potential impeachment of the governor. 76 Assembly members out of 150 are needed to trigger impeachment.
A total of 43 Assembly Democrats paired with the chambers 43 Republicans, gives a total of 86 — 10 more required to impeach the governor. But in order for the Democratic-controlled Assembly to actually move ahead with the impeachment process, a majority of 54 Democrats are needed to support the option.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier on Thursday joined the call for Cuomo to resign over the multiple scandals that have emerged in recent weeks. In his daily press conference at City Hall, de Blasio even mentioned the equally troubling nursing home scandal engulfing Cuomo, an issue that hasn’t triggered much anger from New York Democrats to call for the governor to resign.
“The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called her to a private place and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me,” de Blasio told reporters. “He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.”