‘Executive Assistant #1’ Says Cuomo ‘Broke the Law’
The executive assistant who accused Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of repeatedly groping her and who filed a criminal complaint against him has come forward in an interview that will air on Monday.
Brittany Commisso admitted in an interview with “CBS” This Morning “and The Albany Times Union that she was the person identified as” Executive Assistant # 1 “in a report by the New York State Attorney General, which revealed that the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women.
“What he did to me was a crime,” Ms Commisso said in excerpts from interviews released on Sunday. “He broke the law.
She added: “The governor must be held accountable. “
Ms Commisso’s allegations that Mr Cuomo groped her and grabbed her chest are among the most serious against him and were an integral part of Attorney General Letitia James’ report.
Last week, Ms. Commisso, 32, filed a formal criminal complaint against Mr. Cuomo with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Cuomo, 63, and his attorneys strongly denied the allegations, and the governor told investigators Ms. Commisso was “flirtatious” and “outgoing.”
A lawyer for Ms Commisso did not respond to a request for comment.
In the litany of sexual harassment complaints detailed in the Attorney General’s 165-page report, Mr. Cuomo’s account of actions towards Ms. Commisso describes particularly brash behavior.
While working for Mr. Cuomo’s executive chamber, Ms. Commisso was responsible for typical administrative tasks: handling incoming and outgoing phone calls, taking dictations, drafting documents.
When Ms Commisso was hired, a longtime executive assistant looked at her “top to bottom” and said the governor would “steal” her from her supervisor, Ms Commisso told the attorney general’s office.
Mr Cuomo regularly eyed Ms Commisso in a sexual manner, she told investigators.
As of November 2019, she began assisting Mr. Cuomo at the Executive Mansion, and the governor continued to take a keen interest in Ms. Commisso’s appearance, according to the report.
He told her that she “looked good” for her age and for being a mother, encouraged her to show “some leg” and criticized her for wearing her hair, according to the report. Attorney General.
Mr Cuomo also took a keen interest in Ms Commisso’s personal life – including the state of her marriage and whether she had ever cheated on her husband, according to the report.
At one point, he told her something like, “If you were single, the things I would do to you,” according to the report.
Mr Cuomo would also lure Ms Commisso into intimate hugs which she found uncomfortable, she said.
“I could feel him pushing my body against his and making him feel my breasts against his body,” she told investigators. “And was doing it in a way that obviously felt uncomfortable to me and maybe he was trying to get some kind of personal satisfaction out of it.”
Mr Cuomo told investigators that Ms Commisso was a “hug” and “initiator of the hugs.” He said he accepted the hugs because he “didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable about anything.”
Ms Commisso said Mr Cuomo had also kissed her several times, including at least once on the lips, and rubbed her buttocks.
On November 16, according to the report, one of Mr Cuomo’s assistants ordered Ms Commisso to attend to the governor in her executive mansion office, where she said he hugged her.
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She walked away and said, “You’re going to get us in trouble. “
“I don’t care,” Cuomo replied, then slammed the door, at which point he slipped his hand under his shirt and grabbed her chest, she told investigators.
Fearing retaliation, she kept the incident to herself until, on March 3, Mr. Cuomo told reporters that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately.”
Mr. Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, has attempted to cast doubt on the account of the events of November 16. At a press conference on Friday, Ms Glavin sought to dismantle Ms Commisso’s account by providing a detailed and alternate timeline of what happened that day.
“The documentary evidence does not support what she said,” said Ms. Glavin, who attacked the attorney general’s report as biased.
The date on which the incident allegedly took place has become a source of controversy. Ms Commisso told investigators she couldn’t remember exactly when Mr Cuomo groped her, but it was around him that she was told to photograph a document. She provided investigators with a copy of the photograph which was dated November 16, so investigators focused on that date.
Ms Glavin cited documents and emails believed to show Mr Cuomo was too busy to have been alone with Ms Commisso on November 16. Ms Commisso’s attorney said she does not recall exactly when this happened.
After Ms Commisso filed her complaint in Albany County, Sheriff Craig Apple told reporters on Saturday that his office was considering at least one misdemeanor charge based on the report, although further investigation is needed.
He said the governor would be interviewed at some point.
Legal experts have said Mr Cuomo’s alleged conduct towards Ms Commisso could be charged with forcible touching, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.
At the press conference, Mr. Apple was asked whether his use of the word “victim” to describe Ms. Commisso should be interpreted to mean that he believed she had been victimized.
“I think we’ve all read the attorney general’s report, we know what’s in it,” he said. “At this point I am very comfortable and safe saying that she is in fact a victim.”
Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Sharon otterman and Grace Ashford contributed reporting.
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