The Albany County, New York, sheriff repeatedly referred to a woman Saturday who filed a criminal complaint against Governor Andrew Cuomo, following his sexual misconduct complaint, as a victim and touted her bravery by coming forward.
“I think we’ve all read the attorney general’s report, I think we all know what it contains,” Sheriff Craig Apple told reporters during a news conference in the state capital on Saturday, adding: “At this point, I am very comfortable and confident saying that he is indeed a victim. “
He was referring to New York Attorney General Letitia James emitting an explosive 165 page report earlier in the week it concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, including the one who later filed a criminal complaint with the Albany sheriff, and created a “climate of fear” in a “toxic” workplace.
Apple declined to comment on the complexities of its office investigation during the press conference, saying: “I cannot get into the nature of the specific allegations at this time; obviously, we are in the initial stage of this investigation. “
“We have a lot to investigate, we have to do interviews,” Apple said.
If the investigation reveals criminal behavior, “obviously, yes, it could lead to an arrest,” Apple said. When asked what kind of charges Cuomo could face if the charges were lowered, Apple said it was “really on the fringes of this, but it would probably be a misdemeanor” or maybe several.
She said of the women who came forward and alleged sexual misconduct by Cuomo: “I congratulate you all for coming forward. This is a very difficult time and for something that, you know, is going to put a lot of stress and pressure and pressure on the victim. I give them all the credit in the world. “
Apple also said its office would investigate the complaint like any other allegation, despite its publicized nature. “Obviously it is a high profile investigation. I mean, he’s the governor, ”Apple said. “We treat victims in the same way, we investigate in the same way; this one has more eyes on.”
Apple was also asked how it could reassure people who wonder if this was politically motivated, which has been alleged.
“I had a victim come forward, which had to be the hardest thing he had ever done in his life, and he brought a criminal misconduct charge against the governor. I think that when it comes to the sheriff’s office, I’m elected too, I think we have a proven track record in this area, in this region, of helping people, taking care of people, “Apple said.
On Tuesday, James said Cuomo had violated federal and state civil laws against harassment and retaliation in the workplace. Two days later, the first criminal complaint was filed for the scandal.
A former deputy governor and alleged victim of his conduct, referred to in James’s report only as “Executive Assistant # 1” to protect her identity, spoke to the sheriff’s office Thursday to accuse Cuomo of groping her chest in Albany in last november.
Four criminal prosecutors – district attorneys for Manhattan and New York City’s Albany, Westchester and Nassau counties – had already announced that they would review the evidence James gathered.
Cuomo has denied improperly touching women or engaging in sexual misconduct and has so far resisted calls to resign. After the attorney general’s investigation was released Tuesday, Joe Biden was among the powerful Democratic figures calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
A lawyer for Cuomo, Rita Glavin, said in an interview with CNN Saturday night that the governor “did not believe” his behavior was inappropriate.
Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon, the leaders of Cuomo’s legal team held an online briefing in which they sought to undermine the evidence in the report and claimed it was politically motivated. “There has been no open-minded fact search here in this investigation. This research was conducted in a way that supports a predetermined narrative, ”said attorney Rita Glavin.
The state assembly is in the process of preparing to formally impeach the third-term Democratic governor and remove him from office if he does not resign first.
The executive assistant told investigators Cuomo called her at the governor’s mansion in November last year, led her into a room, closed the door, slid his hand under her blouse and cupped her breast over her bra, according to the investigators report.
The attorney general’s report detailed how Cuomo’s former assistant had told James’s team of investigators: “I have to tell you it was – at the time I was in such a state of shock that I could tell you I only remember seeing his hand, see the top of my bra and I remember it was like, a little bit, even the cup, the kind of bra that I had, to the point that I could tell that it didn’t really fit me, it was a little loose, I just remember seeing exactly that “.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism