ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A decide on Friday dismissed the one felony cost filed towards former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in reference to the sexual harassment allegations that drove him from workplace.
The anticipated procedural transfer had been requested by prosecutors from the Albany County district legal professional’s workplace and got here as they, Cuomo and his legal professionals made a digital look earlier than a decide in Albany Metropolis Court docket.
Cuomo didn’t communicate in the course of the listening to, which lasted only a few minutes. He was briefly seen on the videoconference as a protection legal professional moved her digicam barely to indicate him within the room. He was sporting a black masks.
“We’ve reviewed all the out there proof and concluded we can not efficiently safe a conviction on this case,” assistant district legal professional Jennifer McCanney mentioned.
Choose Holly Trexler mentioned: “This courtroom is aware of the truth that the district legal professional’s workplace has unfettered discretion to find out whether or not to prosecute a selected individual or case.”
The dismissal of the cost, which accused Cuomo of groping an aide within the govt mansion in 2020, removes what had been seen as probably the most severe authorized menace to the Democrat.
He may nonetheless probably face lawsuits over his conduct if his accusers select to take him to courtroom. Cuomo denied the groping allegation and says he didn’t contact anybody inappropriately.
The misdemeanor grievance was filed by the native sheriff in October, two months after Cuomo resigned from workplace.
Albany County District Legal professional David Soares instructed Trexler this week that though the aide was credible, and a few proof supported her account, he believed he couldn’t win a conviction in courtroom.
Soares and Cuomo’s legal professional every requested the decide to dismiss the grievance. With an arraignment already scheduled, the decide mentioned Cuomo and the attorneys ought to seem just about. The decide will preside over the continuing from an Albany courtroom with the legal professionals collaborating through videoconference.
The fees towards Cuomo had been based mostly on allegations by Brittany Commisso, who mentioned Cuomo slid his hand up her shirt and grabbed her breast once they had been alone in an workplace on the mansion.
Her testimony was among the many most damning in a report launched in August by Democratic state Legal professional Normal Letitia James that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed 11 ladies.
Cuomo resigned that month. He has known as the report unfair and has vehemently denied the groping allegation.
Soares has mentioned he was caught unexpectedly when Sheriff Craig Apple, a fellow Democrat, filed the forcible touching grievance with out consulting the prosecutor’s workplace. Soares known as it “probably faulty” and moved to delay Cuomo’s arraignment, initially set for November.
In a letter to Trexler on Tuesday, Soares mentioned “statutory parts of New York regulation make this case not possible to show.” He added that a number of authorities inquiries into Cuomo’s conduct had created “technical and procedural hurdles” relating to prosecutors’ obligations to reveal proof to the protection.
Some authorized consultants mentioned Soares’ determination illustrated the difficulties of prosecuting intercourse crime allegations. However others mentioned he ought to have proceeded if he thought of the accuser credible.
Commisso was among the many critics.
“My disappointing expertise of re-victimization with the failure to prosecute a serial sexual abuser, it doesn’t matter what diploma the crime dedicated, but once more sadly highlights the rationale victims are afraid to come back ahead, particularly towards individuals in energy,” Commisso mentioned in an announcement to the Occasions Union of Albany.
The Related Press doesn’t determine individuals who say they’ve been sexually assaulted until they resolve to inform their tales publicly, as Commisso has carried out in interviews.
Soares, in a radio interview Friday, famous that the legal professional normal’s inquiry didn’t have the identical authorized necessities as a felony case, and he mentioned prosecutors can’t be swayed by public sentiment or “passions.”
“It’s not for me to have interaction in any form of debate with those that aren’t geared up with as a lot data or the obligations that I’ve. Everyone seems to be entitled to an opinion, however there’s just one individual with a burden of proof, and that’s me,” he instructed the WAMC/Northeast Public Radio community.
“I believe the extra harmful place is to have an individual in my place who will transfer ahead, press ahead, with instances due to worry of public backlash,” he added.
Two prosecutors within the New York Metropolis suburbs individually introduced final month that Cuomo wouldn’t face costs for allegations involving different ladies who mentioned they’d been subjected to undesirable kisses or touches.