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An arraignment for the sex-crime case against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been postponed after an Albany County district attorney wrote a letter saying the criminal complaint against Cuomo is “potentially defective.”
In a letter to a judge in Albany, New York, District Attorney David Soares criticized the Albany County sheriff for “unilaterally and inexplicably” filing the complaint against Cuomo without his knowledge while his own investigation was still active, according to the New York Times.
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) (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Soares wrote that the complaint was “potentially defective” due to the fact it did not include a sworn statement by the victim, Brittany Commisso, allowing the prosecution to proceed.
Soares also contended that parts of Commisso’s testimony were excluded and suggested one part of the complaint misstated the laws the law that was potentially violated.
Soares, a Democrat, asked for the arraignment to be moved from Nov. 17 to at least Jan. 7 “to reduce the risk of a procedural dismissal of this case” and to allow time for the district attorney “to continue with our independent and unbiased review of the facts in this case.”
The original one-page complaint, filed by an investigator with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, late last month, accused Cuomo of putting his hand under a woman’s shirt on Dec. 7, 2020. The document didn’t name the woman but Cuomo had been publicly accused of groping an aide, Brittany Commisso, at the executive mansion in Albany last year around that date.
FILE – This photo from Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, shows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul during a cabinet meeting at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. Cuomo faces possible impeachment following findings from an independent investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James. If the governor resigns or is impeached, Hochul stands poised to become New York’s first female governor in a state whose last three male governors have been marred by scandal. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
The office of the county’s district attorney, David Soares, which would handle any prosecution and was involved in the investigation, issued a statement saying it had been caught off guard by the filing.
“Like the rest of the public, we were surprised to learn today that a criminal complaint was filed in Albany City Court by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office against Andrew Cuomo,” it said. “The Office of Court Administration has since made that filing public. Our office will not be commenting further on this case.”
The Times Union newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying the complaint had been issued “prematurely” before a final decision had been made about whether Cuomo would face charges.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to board a helicopter after announcing his resignation, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, in New York. Cuomo says he will resign over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations. The three-term Democratic governor’s decision, which will take effect in two weeks, was announced Tuesday as momentum built in the Legislature to remove him by impeachment. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Cuomo, a Democrat, resigned from office in August over multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.
Associated Press contributed to this report