A former assistant who filed a criminal complaint against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last week on accusations he groped her in the Executive Mansion in Albany is speaking publicly for the first time in a televised interview to be broadcast on Monday, saying the governor “needs to be held accountable.”
Brittany Commisso is one of 11 women Cuomo is accused of sexually harassing, according to an investigative report released by the state attorney general’s office last week. Cuomo has thus far resisted widespread calls for his resignation, including from fellow Democrats such as President Joe Biden, but he could soon face impeachment and removal from office by state lawmakers.
Commisso, identified only as “executive assistant #1” in the report, told state investigators that Cuomo fondled her breast on one occasion, the most serious allegation the governor faces. She also said he rubbed her backside while taking a photo.
Last week, she filed a criminal complaint with the Albany sheriff’s office. The sheriff, Craig Apple, told reporters on Saturday his agency and the county district attorney’s office would conduct a thorough investigation before determining whether a criminal charge is supported.
In an interview with CBS News and the Albany Times-Union that is scheduled to air on Monday morning, Commisso said she filed the report to hold Cuomo responsible for his actions.
“What he did to me was a crime,” she said in an excerpt released by CBS on Sunday. “He broke the law.”
Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, though he has acknowledged that his efforts to be affectionate with people he encounters may have made some people uncomfortable.
Albany sheriff confirms criminal complaint filed against Andrew Cuomo
His lawyer, Rita Glavin, told reporters on Friday that Commisso’s account was fabricated, citing emails and other documentary evidence she said undermines her story.
In another excerpt released by CBS, Commisso said occasional hugs and kisses on the cheek escalated when one time Cuomo quickly turned his head and kissed her on the lips.
Yet she “didn’t say anything” at the time, Commisso said.
“People don’t understand that this is the governor of the state of New York. There are troopers that are outside of the mansion and there are some mansion staff. Those troopers that are there, they are not there to protect me. They are there to protect him,” Commisso said.
© 2021 The Canadian Press