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Friday, January 21, 2022

New York judge dismissed the only criminal charge faced by former Governor Andrew Cuomo after being accused of sexual misconduct

Albany City Court Judge Holly Trexler presided over the hearing, which lasted less than 10 minutes. She heard from Assistant District Attorney Jennifer McCanney, who said she would not oppose Cuomo’s attorney’s motion to dismiss the complaint.

“This court is fully aware of the fact that the district attorney’s office has unfettered discretion to determine whether to prosecute a particular suspect or case, and that the superior courts have long and persistently held That the courts should not and should not interfere with the discretion of a district attorney,” Trexler said.

The woman behind the charge, Brittany Comiso, was one of 11 indictments who spoke to investigators appointed 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 Comiso for comment.

At a news conference shortly after the hearing, Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin said, “Today, logic and the rule of law prevail. Not politics, rhetoric or mob mentality.”

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple’s office filed a misdemeanor charge in October, alleging that the former governor reached under the shirt of a woman who worked as his executive assistant in late 2020 and grabbed her. But in November, Albany District Attorney David Soares indicated issues with the case. , describing the complaint filed as “potentially defective”. He said the complaint falsified the relevant law, did not include a sworn statement from the alleged victim and failed to include pieces of testimony from the accuser, who could potentially be seen as guilty. 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 the commisso “credible.”

Both Westchester and Nassau County District Attorneys recently concluded their investigations into the allegations against Cuomo without indicting the former governor, with both offices calling the charges against him “credible” but were not able to charge under New York law. .

Manhattan DA will not criminalize former governor

According to a source familiar with the matter, in the latest investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the governor, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office decided in recent weeks that after two women claimed he touched them inappropriately, He will not criminally charge Cuomo.

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The source said the decision not to charge the former governor came under the administration of outgoing District Attorney Cy Vance, before District Attorney Alvin Bragg took office on Jan.

CNN reached out to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on Friday for comment, as well as a spokesman for Cuomo. The former governor has consistently denied the allegations against him.

The DA’s investigation focused on state employees, including a state trooper who worked on Cuomo’s protective detail. The first time the soldier remembered that Cuomo had touched her in an unwelcome way was in his New York City office, when Cuomo allegedly “placed his finger on the top of his neck and the middle of his back on his spine.” , ”and said, “Hey you,” as the New York Attorney General reports investigators.

The report said that in his testimony, Cuomo denied that he had ever intentionally touched the soldier on his stomach, as he was also alleged, or ran his fingers down his back. .

Another woman whose charge was noticed by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office was an unidentified state unit employee. She testified that in September 2019, Cuomo deliberately touched her buttocks “in an unwanted way” while the two were taking a picture together during a work event.

An investigation into the two women’s allegations by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was confirmed in a letter obtained by CNN to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James on August 4, requesting the names and contact information of the victims as well as related investigation materials. it was done. For his allegations and any incidents that happened in Manhattan.

While Cuomo will no longer face charges of forcible touching in Albany and the Manhattan district attorney will not criminally charge him, this is not the end of the former governor’s legal battle.

Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes told CNN Friday that his office’s investigation of the allegations against Cuomo is “still under review.”

Cuomo is also the subject of an investigation by federal prosecutors related to sexual assault allegations.

This story has been updated with additional reporting on Friday.

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