ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Albany’s top prosecutor says he is set to drop a criminal charge accusing former Gov. Andrew Cuomo of fondling an aide.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ decision comes three days before the Democratic ex-governor was due to answer the misdemeanor charge in court.
Soares released a statement on his decision not to prosecute:
“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,” Soares said.
The Albany County sheriff filed a criminal complaint Oct. 28 accusing Cuomo of forcible touching.
Cuomo has denied the allegations.
Mariann Wang, an attorney representing Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis, two of Cuomo’s accusers, released a statement on their behalf Tuesday:
“Although my clients are disappointed, they are not surprised. Unfortunately, our penal laws and system frequently do not properly punish the acts of so many abusive men in power. Cuomo’s conduct was nonetheless unlawful and deeply harmful to the women who were subjected to it, as the Attorney General and Assembly found in their reports. My clients remain grateful for those investigations and above all to the other women who had the courage to come forward. Cuomo and men like him should not be in positions of power,” she said.