Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a misdemeanor sex-crimes charge two months after resigning from office.
According to a criminal complaint filed today by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Cuomo was charged with forcible touching for placing his hand under an unidentified woman’s blouse and groping her inside the governor’s mansion on the afternoon of Dec. 7.
Cuomo resigned in August after Attorney General Letitia James released a report detailing a pattern of alleged harassment against female state employees and other women. Several local district attorneys, including Albany County’s David Soares, said at the time they would launch criminal investigations. Soares said in a statement late today that he was “surprised” by the misdemeanor complaint but declined further comment.
Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s lawyer, said the former governor “never assaulted anyone,” in a statement today. “This is not professional law enforcement; this is politics.”
James’s report brought to an ignominious end Cuomo’s decades-long political career, only months after it had arguably reached its zenith. Widely praised for his daily press conferences in the early months of the pandemic, Cuomo was considered a possible future Democratic presidential contender.
But James’s investigation found that he had violated multiple federal and state harassment laws based on allegations from accusers who said Cuomo had engaged in unsolicited hugs, kisses and touches, made inquiries about their sex lives. He allegedly even asked one woman to play strip poker while on a government plane.
Cuomo has admitted being “too familiar” with people but has denied sexually harassing or groping anyone. Calling James’s report biased politically motivated, Cuomo’s lawyer earlier this month asked for a new investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct.
James is expected to announce in the next few days that she will run for governor next year.
“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,” James said in a statement today. “The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report.”
By resigning, Cuomo avoided what was expected to be lengthy impeachment proceedings in the state assembly, which said there were constitutional barriers to impeaching a governor who was no longer in office.
For Cuomo, that also meant he was legally able to run for office again, and some have suggested he may seek a political comeback. But if he’s convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, he would be barred from public office jobs in New York, according to the New York State Unified Court System website.