Andrew Cuomo has officially been charged with a misdemeanor sex crime.
According to CNBC, authorities said the former New York state governor was facing "an overwhelming amount of evidence against him" that he grabbed an ex-aide's breast last December. The criminal complaint accused Cuomo of forcibly putting "his hand under the blouse shirt of the victim" during an encounter at the governor's mansion. They say he did it for the sole purpose of "degrading and gratifying his sexual desires."
According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, the speed at which the complaint was docketed took his office and Albany County District Attorney David Soares by surprise. He added that the complaint will beformally filed after an official review, though it's possible prosecutors may not decide to pursue a case against the politician. If he's convicted, Cuomo potentially faces up to a year in prison and up to three years of probation.
Earlier this year, similar accusations launched a probe into Cuomo's conduct and the ensuing scandal led to his resignation om August. Per state Attorney General Letitia James, Cuomo allegedly sexually harassed nearly a dozen female staffers, adding in a new statement that "the criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report."
However, Cuomo's team pushed back on the accusations, with lawyer Rita Glavin issuing a statement insisting he "never assaulted anyone." She then went on to call Sheriff Apple's motives "patently improper" and later told the New York Post that "credible investigations don't involve holding press conferences in which investigators essentially pronounce someone's guilt before any meaningful investigation."
Meanwhile, Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi accused Sheriff Apple of "erroneously" filing the charges "without notification or authorization of the District Attorney or the complainant," surprising everyone but AG James, who just announced that she was running for governor.
"Apple's conveniently timed move to validate her sham report — here politics is validating politics, what's missing is facts and the law," Azzopardi said before adding, "The abuse of power and misconduct demonstrated by this Cowboy Sheriff and AG James is transparent and it has to stop."
Granted, Sheriff Apple told the Post that his "goal isn't to throw Andrew Cuomo in jail."
"Again, we investigated the complaint, we have a victim, and, and the goal is for her to seek justice," he said. "That's exactly what she's doing. She's been with us every step of the way."
Apple concluded, "At the end of the day, we have a victim, and our job is to take the complaint investigated and move forward. And that's what we've done."