OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes concluded Monday his office will not prosecute former Governor Andrew Cuomo for accusations that he inappropriately touched a woman at a fish hatchery in upstate New York, the DA confirmed to PIX11 sister station NewsChannel 9.
In a statement, DA Greg Oakes cites: “not a sufficient legal basis to bring criminal charges against former-Governor Andrew Cuomo based upon the allegations of unwanted physical contact made by Virginia Limmiatis.”
Limmiatis, who works for the Syracuse-based office of National Grid, was one of eleven women named by the State Attorney General’s Office as coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment against then-Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In video testimony, Limmiatis told investigators that she attended an event with Governor Cuomo in May of 2017 at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery and was harassed as she reached for a handshake while waiting in a line to greet him.
“He walked right up close to me and he put his finger on my shirt, starting with the (redacted letter), and went across my chest, my breasts, going from letter to letter to letter,” Limmiatis said.
Later, she detailed what she interpreted at his attempt to create a cover story so he could touch her collar bone.
“Then he looked up at me and he came over to the side of my face, to my cheek, and he whispered in my ear, so his face was right up to my cheek, and whispered in my ear and he said, I’m going to say that I see a spider on your shoulder,” Limmiatis told investigators.
District Attorney Oakes makes it clear that he believes Limmiatis’ story.
“To be clear, this decision is based solely upon an assessment of the law and whether the People can establish a legally sufficient case under controlling precedent. In no way should this decision be interpreted as casting doubt upon the character or credibility of Ms. Limmiatis, or how harmful the acts she experienced were. After watching her prior testimony and talking with her, I found her to be reliable and reasonable, seemingly motivated only by an earnest desire to do the right thing, and she was plainly upset by her interaction with then Governor Cuomo as she expressed immediately to friends and family,” Oakes wrote.
Through a spokesperson, Limmiatis writes: “I immediately spoke to multiple people about what Cuomo had done to me, precisely because I was so disturbed and upset by it. At the same time, I did not report him publicly, because he was the Governor, and I was fearful of him.”
Mariann Wang, attorney for Ms. Limmatis wrote, “Not every violation of law results in a criminal prosecution. This decision does not mean Cuomo acted appropriately or lawfully towards Ms. Limmiatis or any of the other women who came forward, or that he didn’t cause them significant harm.”
A spokesperson for the former governor released a statement following the DA’s decision to drop the case, calling out the attorney general’s “fraud of a report.” “Enclosed you will find the photos of what the Oswego District Attorney has been ‘investigating’ for months — demonstrating what a farce this has been from the beginning. As now five DAs have verified, none of the accusations in Tish James’ fraud of a report have stood up to any level of real scrutiny. This has always been a political hit job to further the Attorney General’s own ambitions, which both reeks of prosecutorial misconduct and has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars. As we’ve said since the beginning, the truth will come out,” the statement said.
Rita Glavin, attorney for Cuomo said in a statement, “The photographic evidence that the AG’s report hid from the public indisputably showed that Governor Cuomo did not act improperly. Truth and the rule of law prevailed, not politics or mob mentality.”