Cuomo attorney slams sex crime summons, calls motives ‘patently improper’

Cuomo Crisis

NEW YORK — In the minutes and hours that followed news of a criminal complaint being filed against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, various members of his team attempted to change the narrative Thursday, attacking the credibility of investigators and law enforcement working the case.

A criminal complaint filed by a police investigator with a court in Albany has accused Cuomo of committing a misdemeanor sex crime.

The one-page complaint, filed by an investigator with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, accused Cuomo of putting his hand under a woman’s shirt on Dec. 7, 2020.

But there was confusion Thursday over whether the document was made public by mistake.

The office of the county’s district attorney, David Soares, which would handle any prosecution and was involved in the investigation, issued a statement saying it had been caught off guard by the filing.

“Like the rest of the public, we were surprised to learn today that a criminal complaint was filed in Albany City Court by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office against Andrew Cuomo,” it said. “The Office of Court Administration has since made that filing public. Our office will not be commenting further on this case.”

The Times Union, of Albany, quoted unnamed officials as saying the complaint had been issued “prematurely” before a final decision had been made about whether Cuomo would face charges.

The office of Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple didn’t directly address that report, but confirmed in a statement that a criminal summons had been issued ordering Cuomo to appear in Albany City Court at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 17.

The statement suggested it was court officials, not prosecutors or a law enforcement agency, that made the decision to issue the summons. It said sheriff’s investigators had determined there was “probable cause” to present evidence to the court “for their review to determine the most appropriate legal pathway moving forward on the investigation.”

But the former governor’s team was quick to condemn the process while denying the allegations in the complaint.

The first statement from the Cuomo camp came from his attorney, Rita Glavin. She directed the bulk of her criticism at the sheriff.

“Governor Cuomo has never assaulted anyone, and Sheriff Apple’s motives here are patently improper. Sheriff Apple didn’t even tell the District Attorney what he was doing,” she said. “But Apple’s behavior is no surprise given (1) his August 7 press conference where he essentially pronounced the Governor guilty before doing an investigation, and (2) his Office’s leaking of grand jury information. This is not professional law enforcement; this is politics.”

Later, a spokesperson for the former governor, Richard Azzopardi, attacked the reported mistake in the filing process.

“Accidentally’ filing a criminal charge without notification and consent of the prosecuting body doesn’t pass the laugh test and this process reeks of Albany politics and perhaps worse. The fact that the AG — as predicted — is about to announce a run for governor is lost on no one. The truth about what happened with this cowboy sheriff will come out.”

After an investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office determined Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women — in and out of state government — the governor was initially defiant. He rejected calls to resign before stepping down so that the government could focus on COVID-19 pandemic recovery without the distraction of a lengthy impeachment trial. (He later resigned.)

“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate allegations that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor,” James said Thursday. “The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Follow us on Facebook

Don't Miss

@PIX11News on Twitter