Albany Sheriff to Conduct Criminal Investigation on Cuomo

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Albany County’s sheriff said his office is starting a criminal investigation against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after receiving a complaint against him.

Sheriff Craig Apple said he’s also reached out to the New York Attorney General’s office for more information following its report earlier in the week accusing Cuomo of sexually harassing 11 women and creating a “climate of fear” in his offices.

“We’re at very infant stages of this investigation,” Apple said at a press conference on Saturday. “We have a lot of fact finding to do. We have a lot of interviews to do. You know what? I’m not going to rush it because of who he is, I’m not going to delay it because of who he is.”

Earlier Friday, the sheriff’s office said the complaint against Cuomo came from a former staffer included in the attorney general’s report. According to the report, Cuomo reached under the staffer’s blouse and grabbed her breast while at the Executive Mansion.

“I had a female victim come forward, which was probably the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life,” Apple said, declining to give further details other than that the crime was sexual in nature. The Albany sheriff’s office has a couple of sex crime investigators but has the backing of the entire department, he added.

In March, Cuomo’s office informed the state capital’s police department of the groping accusation after the aide made claims that surfaced in the Albany Times-Union.

“He did not grope her and there was evidence that was provided by several individuals to the attorney general about potential motives for her to have made that claim,” Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s lawyer, said on CNN on Saturday, declining to be more specific.

Cuomo’s lawyers remained defiant in the face of intensifying pressure on the governor to resign, even as the three-term Democrat confronts possible criminal investigations in four New York counties and potential impeachment proceedings. Cuomo has denied the sexual harassment claims and remains hunkered down in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany.

The sheriff also declined to state a specific date the incident had occurred on in the attorney general’s report, which has been a point of contention for Cuomo’s lawyers.

“This is problem we are faced -- that we have a report that is not accurate, that did not go through all the evidence,” Glavin added, referring to the disagreement on the date. “This is no Mueller investigation.”

The attorney general’s investigation spanned five months and examined 74,000 pieces of evidence, including e-mails, text messages and photographs.

“We will cooperate fully with the Albany sheriff and turn over all evidence related to this complainant,” the state attorney general’s office said in a statement following Apple’s briefing. “Similarly, we will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, as appropriate.”

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