A prosecutor investigating accusations that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo groped a woman has asked a judge for more time, saying the criminal complaint filed last week by the local sheriff was “potentially defective.”
The request from Albany Country District Attorney David Soares throws the high-profile case in turmoil a week after Cuomo was accused in a criminal complaint filed by the local sheriff of committing a misdemeanor sex crime.
Soares said in a letter to Judge Holly Trexler that his office had been investigating the matter for several months.
“We were in the middle of that investigation when the Sheriff unilaterally and inexplicably filed a complaint in this court,” Soares wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, the filings in this matter are potentially defective in that the police-officer-complainant failed to include a sworn statement by the victim such that the People could proceed with a prosecution on these papers.”
The court summons last week had required Cuomo to appear for an arraignment on Nov. 17. But the court granted an adjournment until Jan. 7, 2022, at the request of the parties, a spokesperson for Albany Country District Attorney David Soares said in an email. The spokesperson offered no additional comment on the case.
The 60-day postponement was done in order to avoid a dismissal of the case on procedural grounds, the court filing and a separate statement say. The district attorney said they will review more material they are expecting from the state attorney general's office.
"What was included with the complaint was a portion of a transcript of the victim's statement given in a separate proceeding, but that portion excluded an oath, and, even more troubling, excluded other portions of her testimony where she described the very same acts described in the complain," Soares wrote in the letter to the judge.
A call was made to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple seeking comment.
The one-page complaint filed in Albany City Court accuses Cuomo of forcible touching by putting his hand under a woman’s shirt on Dec. 7.
The complaint did not name the woman, but she has identified herself as Brittany Commisso, who worked as one of Cuomo’s executive assistants before he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations in August.
Forcible touching is a misdemeanor in New York, punishable by up to a year in jail, though many cases for first-time offenders are resolved with probation or a shorter jail sentence.