New York, Oct 28 (EFE).- Months after resigning as governor of New York in the face of multiple claims of sexual misconduct, Andrew Cuomo faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly groping the breast of a former aide, authorities said Thursday.
Cuomo, 63, has been ordered to appear before a court in Albany, the state capital, on Nov. 17.
The charge was filed by Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple following an investigation opened in August after former aide Brittany Commisso made a complaint about an alleged assault by Cuomo at the governor’s mansion in December 2020.
The former governor has steadfastly denied behaving inappropriately with anyone, acknowledging only that he might have failed to “fully appreciate … generational and cultural shifts.”
New York Focus, an alternative news outlet, first broke the story about the criminal charge and the Albany City Court subsequently released a redacted version of the complaint.
David Soares, the district attorney in Albany, said he had no advance knowledge of the complaint, while Apple’s office declined to comment aside from issuing a statement confirmed that Cuomo had been ordered to appear in court.
Conviction on a charge of forcible touching carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Cuomo, according to the complaint, did “intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly place his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim and onto her intimate body part.”
Many of the top Democrats in New York, including both of the state’s United States senators, urged Cuomo to step down when the harassment allegations first became public in March.
The son of three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo (1932-2015) initially vowed to fight the accusations and to go forward with plans to seek a fourth term in 2022.
But on Aug. 10, a week after state Attorney General Letitia James presented a report by independent investigators who deemed credible the accounts of 11 women who came forward with complaints about the governor, including nine state employees, Cuomo resigned.
President Joe Biden also said in March that Cuomo should resign if the accusations were borne out by the AG Office investigation.
Yet what apparently convinced Cuomo to resign were signs that the Democratic majority in the state legislature was ready to impeach him and that the probe would go beyond the harassment charges to examine his administration’s withholding of data about Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes.
In the event of impeachment, a simple majority in the state Senate would have been enough not only to remove Cuomo as governor but to bar him from ever holding public office in New York.
Cuomo received the 2020 International Emmy Founders Award for the televised daily briefings that he gave during the worst months of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and was touted as a potential presidential hopeful. EFE