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Politics and Government

Judge dismisses sole criminal charge against Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks.jpg
Don Pollard
/

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A judge on Friday dismissed the only criminal charge filed against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in connection with the sexual harassment allegations that drove him from office.

The move was expected after Albany County prosecutors said they couldn’t prove the case and wanted to drop it, and Cuomo’s lawyers asked the court to agree.

Cuomo, a Democrat who denied the allegation, didn’t speak during Friday’s virtual hearing, which lasted just a few minutes. Wearing a black mask, he was briefly visible on the videoconference as a defense attorney moved her camera slightly to show him in the room.

“We have reviewed all of the available evidence and concluded we cannot successfully secure a conviction in this case,” assistant district attorney Jennifer McCanney said.

Judge Holly Trexler said she was “acutely aware of the fact that the district attorney’s office has unfettered discretion to determine whether to prosecute a particular person or case.”

The dismissal of the charge, which accused Cuomo of groping an aide in the executive mansion in 2020, removes what had been seen as the most serious legal threat to the former governor. He said he never touched anyone inappropriately.

He could still face lawsuits over his conduct if his accusers choose to take him to court.

The misdemeanor complaint was filed by the local sheriff in October, two months after Cuomo resigned from office.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares told Trexler this week that although the aide was credible, and some evidence supported her account, he believed he couldn’t win a conviction in court.

The charges against Cuomo were based on allegations by Brittany Commisso, who said Cuomo slid his hand up her blouse and grabbed her breast when they were alone in an office at the mansion.