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Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lashed out at New York Attorney General Letitia James Thursday following an announcement he will not be charged in a sexual assault allegation.
“With each passing day it becomes more and more clear that the Attorney General’s report was the intersection of gross prosecutorial misconduct and an abuse of government power for political purposes,” a spokesperson for Cuomo said Wednesday after prosecutors in Nassau County, New York concluded he will not be charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a female state trooper at a New York racetrack in 2019.
FILE – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York’s Yankee Stadium, on July 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
According to James’ 168-page report following a five-month non-criminal investigation earlier this year, which reviewed more than 74,000 pieces of evidence and interviewed dozens of people, Cuomo “ran the palm of his left hand” across the trooper’s stomach “and he pushed his hand back to her right hip where she kept her gun.”
The trooper told investigators that this made her feel “completely violated because to me, like that’s between my chest and my privates.”
The statement from Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith issued Thursday said that her office had “concluded” its probe into the alleged incident and ultimately did not believe those specific alleged actions violated criminal statutes.
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 12: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on June 12, 2020 in New York City. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “Say Their Name” reform legislation, an agenda that calls for better policing standards in New York State in the wake of recent protests and in response to George Floyd’s death. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
However, Smith did call the charge “credible” and “deeply troubling.”
“Her press conference proclaimed ‘11 cases of violations of federal and state laws,’ ignited the cancel culture mentality and started a media and political stampede against Governor Cuomo,” Cuomo added in his statement. “James never presented the evidence to support such claims, her report omitted important exculpatory facts, she admitted her personal interference in preparing the report and had still refused to answer any questions from the press. It was obviously a political springboard to remove Governor Cuomo so she could run for office, however it was so poorly done and obviously it backfired and James’ run for governor lasted only 5 weeks.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James discusses the investigation into former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on ABC’s “The View.” – December 14, 2021 (ABC/Screenshot)
In a later statement, Cuomo’s spokesperson added, “Governor Cuomo did not remember touching the Trooper, but said that it was a common custom for him to acknowledge the presence of a trooper — male or female — holding a door as he walked past them. This was only meant to be an acknowledgment of their presence and nothing more.”
James, who many speculated was a frontrunner to replace Cuomo as governor while she was investigating the sexual misconduct allegations against him, abandoned her candidacy for governor earlier this month.
“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general,” James said in a surprise announcement. “There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job.”
Cuomo still faces a misdemeanor charge of forcibly touching for allegedly reaching under the blouse of former aide Brittany Commisso. Albany County District Attorney David Soares has cautioned that the complaint may be “defective” for not including a sworn statement from Commisso herself, and requested that Cuomo’s arraignment be moved from November to January 7 in order to cure problems with the case.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report