Cuomo Sex-Crime Case ‘Potentially Defective,’ Albany D.A. Says
(Bloomberg) -- The criminal complaint filed last week against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for allegedly groping a woman in Albany is “potentially defective,” according to the prosecutor handling the case.
Albany District Attorney David Soares said in a Thursday letter to New York state court judge Holly A. Trexler that the Oct. 28 complaint filed by the Albany county sheriff’s department failed to include a sworn statement by the victim. Cuomo was charged with forcible touching, a misdemeanor.
“What was included with the complaint was a portion of a transcript of the victim’s statement given in a separate proceeding, but that portion excluded an oath, and, even more troubling, excluded other portions of her testimony where she described the very same acts described in the complaint,” Soares said. The excluded testimony could be considered helpful to Cuomo’s defense and has now been provided to the former governor’s lawyers, Soares said in a footnote to the letter.
Soares asked the judge to put the case on hold for 60 days so he can catch up on a review of evidence and continue his “independent and unbiased review of the facts in this case.” Cuomo was originally scheduled to appear for arraignment in Albany City Court on Nov. 17.
The two-page letter, first reported by the New York Times, heaps criticism on the probe conducted by the sheriff, Craig Apple, who surprised Soares by filing the criminal case against Cuomo before the district attorney’s office had completed its own parallel investigation.
Apple on Friday didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. Soares’s office also didn’t immediately return a call.
Cuomo, 63, has denied assaulting anyone. His spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, declined to comment on Friday but last week slammed Apple’s charge as politically motivated and “fruit of the poison tree.”
According to the sheriff’s complaint, Cuomo placed his hand under an unidentified woman’s blouse and groped her in the governor’s mansion on Dec. 7.
Apple said at an Oct. 29 press conference that he had a “solid case” against Cuomo, and defended his office’s “methodical” four-month investigation, including search warrants, data collection, numerous witness interviews and the review of thousands of documents.
Cuomo, a Democrat who became one of the party’s most popular politicians at the beginning of the pandemic, resigned in August after Attorney General Letitia James released a report detailing a pattern of alleged harassment against female state employees and other women. Several local district attorneys, including Soares, said at the time they would launch criminal investigations.
James announced she was running for governor on Oct. 29. Though he has admitted being “too familiar” at times, Cuomo has denied most of the allegations in James’s report, claiming it was driven by the attorney general’s political ambitions.
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