Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce A. Smith announced last week that no criminal charges would be filed against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo after allegations he inappropriately touched a female state trooper at a Belmont Park event in 2019.
Smith, in a statement, said the allegations against Cuomo are “credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal.” According to findings from an investigation launched by state Attorney General Letitia James earlier this year, Cuomo touched the trooper, who was part of his security detail, in a way that made her feel “completely violated.”
The trooper, whose name was not disclosed in James’ findings, said she “felt the palm of his hand in the center of my stomach on my belly button and like pushes back toward my right hip, where my gun is,” during an interview with officials.
Smith said: “It is important to note that our investigation was limited to alleged conduct at Belmont Racetrack, and prosecutors in other jurisdictions continue to review other allegations of misconduct by Mr. Cuomo. We thank the brave individuals who came forward and cooperated with our office during this investigation, and gratefully acknowledge our colleagues, Attorney General James and the New York State Assembly, for their diligence and collaboration.”
Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesman, said James’ report “was the intersection of gross prosecutorial misconduct and an abuse of government power for political purposes,” claiming James only launched the investigation so she could run for governor.
“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,” Azzopardi continued. “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 five weeks.”
Beginning in December 2020, women who had worked for the state began coming forward with allegations that Cuomo inappropriately touched and harassed them on multiple occasions from 2013 to last year.
James’ investigators determined that Cuomo sexually harassed or assaulted 11 women, most of whom worked for the state. The 165-page report’s findings — based on interviews with 179 people — indicate Cuomo violated multiple federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York State’s Human Rights Law.
Cuomo, who resigned as governor in August after the findings were reported, repeatedly denied that he had inappropriately touched any of the accusers, contending during an 11-hour interview conducted by James’ office that they occasionally misinterpreted his actions.
Cuomo, during the interview, questioned the fairness of the probe, specifically independent investigator Joon Kim’s involvement.
“I mean, the concept of you as the resolution to the conflict as an independent reviewer is bizarre to me and raises ethical and legal questions,” he said. “The way you, then, have conducted the review itself I believe raises ethical and legal questions.”
Cuomo told Kim at the end of the interview, “I would like to say it was a pleasure … but I’m under oath.”
The state Assembly suspended its impeachment investigation of Cuomo in August.