The report of the New York Attorney general against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in relation to the alleged sexual harassment was a result of a civil investigation. However, the investigation led to the likelihood of criminal investigations, evoking the possibility of the governor being arrested.
Cuomo could be charged with misdemeanors, sexual abuse, and forcible touching
On Sunday, Sheriff Craig Apple of Albany County hinted that Cuomo would probably face criminal charges as a result of the statement made by Cuomo’s Executive Assistant, Brittany Commisso.
Commisso recently revealed some serious sexual allegations against the New York governor. Apple therefore stated that Cuomo would more likely be charged with misdemeanor among other criminal charges.
On the other hand, Julie Rendelman, former Brooklyn prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer, agreed with the assessment of the County Sheriff, based on the allegations that Commisso made.
“These were hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of”: Brittany Commisso shares the details of her allegations against NY Gov. Cuomo, which he denies, with CBS This Morning and @timesunion. https://t.co/pkkZ7aT4PC pic.twitter.com/jHbCNOpYjf
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 9, 2021
In an interview with Commisso this week, the executive assistant of Cuomo revealed how in one instance, the governor grabbed her butt while they were taking a selfie. Then, on another incident, Cuomo reached under her shirt and groped her breast.
Rendelman said in a statement that if the allegations of Commisso are supported by a thorough investigation from the district attorney’s office, the governor is looking at potentially two misdemeanor charges. These charges include third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching.
Forcible touching is described by the law as someone forcibly touches sexual or intimate parts of another with the intent of abusing or degrading such person, or to gratify the sexual desires of that person. The possible punishment for forcible touching has a maximum penalty of one year in jail. On the other hand, sexual abuse in the third degree has a maximum penalty of 90 days.
As DAs investigate, read up on the two NY criminal charges Cuomo could face @Law360:
1) Forcible touching
(class A misdemeanor, up to 1 yr prison, S130.52)
2) Sexual abuse in the third degree
(class B misdemeanor, up to 3 months prison, S130.55)https://t.co/pzutVen97x
— Frank G. Runyeon (@frankrunyeon) August 5, 2021
Cuomo’s lawyers questioned the credibility of Commisso
On the other hand, the governor through his lawyers criticized the investigation of the attorney general, as well as the handling of the allegations made by Commisso. They also cited more particularly Commisso’s failure to state the alleged date in when these incidents happened.
Commisso is one of the 11 women cited in the damning report made by Attorney General Letitia James. In the report, Cuomo was accused of sexually harassing multiple women and violating federal and state law. Since the release of the report, Cuomo denied the allegations made against him. He maintained that he never inappropriately touched anyone.
However, what’s concerning is how criminal cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard that is higher than the proof required in a civil case. According to Rendelman, the lawyer of the governor will seek to plant in doubt into the accusations by calling into question the credibility of Commisso.
Rendelman added that although it is still too soon to tell the defenses that Cuomo’s lawyers will possibly make, they will for sure question the credibility of Commisso, as well as her potential motive for going public.