“We have an enormous amount of evidence” against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, the mayor of New York said Friday, a day after a criminal complaint accusing him of a sexual offense against one of his aides.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple also revealed that he, along with everyone else involved in the case, was surprised by the complaint’s surprising schedule and its leaking to the media shortly after his office raised it in Albany City Court on Thursday.
Apple told reporters that he had expected the complaint to be reviewed by court officials to determine the next steps in the case, rather than formally filing.
The complaint alleges Cuomo, 63, forcibly touched an executive assistant last December at the governor’s palace. misdemeanor charge.
Cuomo is scheduled to appear in court on November 17 in the case. Apple said the disgraced Democrat will be arrested at some point.
“We kind of got ourselves in the sandbags,” Apple told reporters, saying he plans to file the complaint publicly later than Thursday after he had the opportunity to report to the county attorney and Cuomo’s attorney. Likewise, the plaintiff in the case was not notified that the papers had been filed in court immediately prior to the issuance of the complaint.
“Everything went really fast,” Apple said. “We were expecting the documents to be reviewed. We weren’t expecting a five-minute shift.”
But Apple has repeatedly said that the unexpected release of the complaint by the court will not affect the strength of the case against Cuomo.
“It’s a solid case,” he said.
“Like the rest of the public, we were surprised today by the filing of a criminal complaint in Albany City Court by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office v. Andrew Cuomo,” Albany County Attorney David Soares, whose office is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases, said in a statement Thursday.
Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, in a written statement Thursday accused Apple of unprofessional conduct in providing documents that led to the complaint being issued without first telling Soares.
“Governor Cuomo has never attacked anyone, and Sheriff Apple’s motives here are clearly inappropriate,” Glavin said.
Apple on Friday rejected suggestions Cuomo’s camp made that it was politically motivated to file a criminal charge against Cuomo, saying his office treated the investigation like any other misdemeanor investigation.
Cuomo’s team argued that the investigation that led to his resignation in August was politically tainted by state Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who delegated the task of conducting the investigation to attorneys in private practice.
James announced Friday that she will run for governor, in a bid to remove Governor Cathy Hochhol, who was Cuomo’s deputy governor.
The investigation found Cuomo sexually molested nearly a dozen women, including current and former employees, including the executive assistant who accused him of molesting her breasts during a meeting at the governor’s mansion last year.
On Thursday, James issued a statement after the criminal complaint was released, saying: “The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forceful touching confirm the correctness of the findings in our report.”
“In August, Craig Apple publicly acknowledged the Tech Jam report as evidence to indict the governor for an allegation he has not yet investigated,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azopardi said Friday, before James’ nomination was officially announced, in a statement.
“Now, as she prepares to announce her candidacy for governor, Tish James has returned the favor, using … Apple’s well-timed move to validate its bogus report – here the policy validates the policy, and what is lacking are facts and law.”
“In an unprecedented move, Craig Apple has erroneously brought misdemeanor charges against former Governor Cuomo without notification or permission from the attorney general or prosecutor. Apparently the only person who was notified, and had a statement ready, was Tish James,” Azopardi said. They are not stupid and none of this passes the laughter test. This is not the Wild West: the abuse of power and misconduct demonstrated by this cowboy mayor and AG James is transparent and must stop.”
The criminal complaint says Cuomo intentionally, “not for any legitimate purpose, [forcibly placed] His hand is under the victim’s shirt….and on the intimate part of her body.”
‘specially , [victim’s] left breast for the purposes of insulting and satisfying his sexual desires.”
Forced touch is a first degree misdemeanor. If convicted, Cuomo could be sentenced to up to a year in prison, and up to three years of probation.