New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrives to depart in his helicopter after announcing his resignation in New York City, August 10, 2021.
Caitlin Ochs | Reuters
Cuomo denied wrongdoing. He said nothing Friday during the brief hearing, where he sat next to his lawyer Rita Glavin from a remote location.
“As the governor said, this simply did not happen,” Glavin said afterward. “No jury would have found Ms. Commisso credible. That’s why this case was dismissed.”
Commisso, 33, earlier this week criticized Soares’ decision to drop the case.
“My disappointing experience of re-victimization with the failure to prosecute a serial sexual abuser, no matter what degree the crime committed, yet again sadly highlights the reason victims are afraid to come forward, especially against people in power,” Commisso told the Albany Times Union in a statement.
“When will our voices uniformly be accepted? Where do we go to have our rights vindicated? Unfortunately, this is just another example of where our criminal justice system needs to do better,” she said.
Commisso’s lawyer earlier this week said she planned to file a civil lawsuit against Cuomo.
Cuomo, a Democrat, resigned in August in the middle of his third term after an investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James concluded he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, including Commisso.
The Albany criminal case, which was initially filed by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office without Soares’ knowledge in advance, was the only criminal case lodged against Cuomo in connection with the alleged harassment.
Two other county district attorneys, in Westchester and Nassau, recently said they would not prosecute Cuomo for alleged unwanted touching of women in those jurisdictions.
On Monday, Cuomo’s lawyer said that a probe by the Manhattan district attorney’s office into the Cuomo administration’s alleged mishandling of Covid-19-related deaths of nursing home patients had ended without any criminal charges.
In a statement later Friday, Cuomo’s spokesman again blasted the probe initiated by James, a Democrat who announced a run for governor after releasing the report, only to drop that campaign months later.
“We have said from the beginning that this entire situation was a political manipulation and would be disproven when a non-corrupted legal review was conducted,” said Rich Azzopardi, the spokesman. “The James report was not a legal review, but a sham to generate a press frenzy and political firestorm to clear the way for her own run for higher office.”
“Three district attorneys have now reviewed James’ report and evidence and have proven that what we said all along was correct — the law was not broken and not a single case has been brought,” he said.
“The Nassau and Westchester District Attorneys found that even if the allegations were credible they did not violate the law,” Azzopardi said. “Kissing someone on the cheek, patting someone’s stomach as you walk by, taking a photograph with an employee or a wedding guest is not illegal — criminally or civilly. Plaintiff lawyers overplayed their hand, and we will not pay one penny in attempts at civil extortion.”