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Albany County District Attorney drops misdemeanor complaint against former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

The Albany County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday it is dropping the forcible touching complaint.

NEW YORK — The Albany County District Attorney announced Tuesday that his office will not pursue the misdemeanor complaint against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

District Attorney David Soares issued this statement:

“While many have an opinion regarding the allegations against the former Governor, the Albany County DA’s Office is the only one who has a burden to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. While we found the complainant in this case cooperative and credible, after review of all the available evidence we have concluded that we cannot meet our burden at trial. As such we have notified the Court that we are declining to prosecute this matter and requesting the charges filed by the Albany County Sheriff be dismissed.

“I, like most New Yorkers, remain deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here. Such conduct has no place in government or in any workplace. Although avenues for criminal prosecution in these cases are sometimes limited, I encourage victims of workplace harassment and abuse to continue to come forward and bring these issues to light so that these important discussions can continue,” commented District Attorney Soares.  

The decision to discontinue criminal prosecution is unrelated to any possible civil liability, which is beyond the scope of a District Attorney’s jurisdiction."

Cuomo was scheduled to appear in Albany City Court on Friday afternoon to face the misdemeanor charge. According to the criminal complaint, Cuomo was accused of putting his hand under a woman’s shirt on Dec. 7, 2020, during a work event. The document didn’t name the woman, but Cuomo had been publicly accused of groping aide Brittany Commisso at the executive mansion in Albany last year.

According to the Times Union report, the alleged victim wished to pursue a charge, but was informed prosecutors may not move forward with the case due to the manner in which the complaint was filed.

The charge came from a criminal complaint filed by the Albany County Sheriff's Office.  DA Soares, whose office would prosecute the case, said in a statement back in October that he was "surprised to learn" about the filing. Soares added that his office would not be commenting further on the case. 

This comes after Cuomo's former attorney, Elkan Abramowitz, was told Monday that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has closed its investigation of how the Cuomo administration handled nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was contacted today [Monday] by the head of the Elder Care Unit from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who informed me they have closed its investigation involving the Executive Chamber and nursing homes. I was told that after a thorough investigation – as we have said all along – there was no evidence to suggest that any laws were broken," Abramowitz said in a provided statement.

Just last week it was announced that Cuomo will not be facing criminal charges stemming from allegations of unwanted kissing by two women, one of them a state trooper assigned to his detail. 

Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah says while there was evidence to conclude the conduct the women described did occur, it did not merit charges. The alleged incident involving the trooper occurred at Cuomo's home in Mount Kisco. 

In the other incident, Cuomo allegedly greeted the woman by grabbing her arm, pulling her toward him, and kissing her on the cheek while the two were at an event at White Plains High School.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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