A criminal complaint has accused former New York governor Andrew Cuomo of committing a sex crime, though there were reports that the document might have been submitted in error.
The brief complaint, filed by an investigator with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, accused Mr Cuomo of putting his hand under a woman’s shirt on December 7, 2020.
The document did not name the woman, but Mr Cuomo had been publicly accused of groping an aide, Brittany Commisso, at the executive mansion in Albany last year.
The Albany County district attorney’s office and Albany County Sheriff did not immediately return messages but the Times Union, of Albany, quoted unnamed officials as saying the complaint had been issued “prematurely” by the court and that a final decision had not been made about whether Mr Cuomo would face charges.
Mr Cuomo’s lawyer and spokesperson did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Ms Commisso, who was an executive assistant for Mr Cuomo, says he reached under her shirt and fondled her when they were alone in a room at the governor’s mansion in Albany late last year.
She said Mr Cuomo pulled her in for a hug as she prepared to leave the governor’s office at the mansion. When she told him, “you’re going to get us in trouble,” Mr Cuomo replied, “I don’t care,” and slammed the door shut, according to her account.
Ms Commisso said Mr Cuomo slid his hand up her blouse and grabbed her breast.
Mr Cuomo has adamantly denied groping her, saying once: “I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing.”
Ms Commisso filed a complaint with the county sheriff in August in the same week a report from state Attorney General Letitia James concluded the Democratic governor sexually harassed 11 women and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers.
Other accusations outlined in the report range from planting unwanted kisses to asking unwelcome personal questions about sex and dating.
Mr Cuomo announced his resignation a week after the release of the blistering report, marking a dramatic downfall for the third-term governor who had been seen as a beacon of sturdy competence during his daily Covid-19 briefings in 2020.
Ms Commisso was referred to as “Executive Assistant 1” in the report but publicly revealed her identity after its release. She is the only woman mentioned in the attorney general’s report known to have filed a criminal complaint.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple at the time promised a “very comprehensive” investigation in partnership Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin has said that Ms Commisso’s “story changed over time”.
The complaint filed by the sheriff’s department investigator said evidence in the case included police blackberry messages, cell phone records, building security records and a text message from Cuomo’s mobile phone.
District attorneys in Oswego, Manhattan, suburban Westchester and Nassau counties also had said they asked for investigative materials from the attorney general’s inquiry to see if any of the allegations could result in criminal charges.