'Not normal.' Ex-Cuomo aide details groping allegations

A New York governor's aide was accused by an aide. Andrew Cuomo groped her, according to her first televised interview. She said she was initially afraid of identifying herself as she worried about the governor's "enablers".

'Not normal.' Ex-Cuomo aide details groping allegations

A New York governor's aide was accused by an aide. Andrew Cuomo groped her, according to her first televised interview. She said she was initially afraid of identifying herself as she worried about the governor's "enablers".

09 August 2021 Monday 16:22
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'Not normal.' Ex-Cuomo aide details groping allegations

Brittany Commisso was an executive assistant to Cuomo's team. She spoke out in a joint interview with CBS, The Times Union of Albany, and described her interactions with Cuomo. The interview was broadcast Monday when a key legislative panel met to discuss possible impeachment hearings.

Commisso has spoken out before, first in an anonymous interview with the Times Union last winter, and then as one of 11 women who said they were sexually harassed by Cuomo whose allegations were detailed in a report by the state attorney general's office last week. She was also the first woman to file a criminal complaint against Cuomo, giving a report to the county sheriff Thursday.

However, until now, she has not been able to tell her story.

"I was afraid that if my name was revealed, the governor and his accomplices, I like to refer to them as, would viciously attack and smear me, just as I had seen them do to other people," Commisso, now 32, said.

She stated that she wanted to protect her daughter but feels now that speaking up shows her that she has a voice.

Commisso stated that she did not want her to be afraid of speaking. "I don't want her to be afraid or intimidated by any man or woman in power.

Cuomo is currently under fire for another day.

Monday's executive session of the Assembly's judiciary panel was closed to discuss how to close an ongoing probe into Cuomo’s conduct with women and other matters. This included the use of staff to assist with his $5million book deal and the decision of his administration to withhold all statistics about COVID-19 nursing home deaths from the public.

After emerging, Charles Lavine, the chair of the committee, and Carl Heastie, the Assembly Speaker, promised to close their inquiry and possibly have a vote on articles for impeachment within weeks. However they also set out a timeline that will likely disappoint those who want Cuomo to be removed from office immediately.

The judiciary committee will meet privately until at least August 23rd to discuss the evidence. They will hold public hearings that will feature testimony from experts in sexual harassment and impeachment. Cuomo would have a 30-day grace period to respond to any vote that would start an impeachment case.

The committee is now receiving hundreds of thousands of pages worth of documents and other evidence from the attorney general's investigators.

Lavine stated that the committee wanted to ensure that any impeachment articles were "airtight."

He said, "I expect the governor and his lawyers will challenge everything."

Heastie tried to dispel speculation that Cuomo could be given an opportunity to delay the process, possibly by offering to not run for reelection.

He stated, "I'm not negotiating any deals."

Scores of Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have urged Cuomo to leave office. About two-thirds of state Assembly members have said they favor an impeachment trial if he refuses to resign, according to an Associated Press count. To begin an impeachment case, a simple majority vote must be cast.

Cuomo will be going into the fight without his former top aide, Melissa DeRosa, who resigned late Sunday, saying the past two years had been "emotionally and mentally trying."

Letitia James, the state attorney general, published a report that DeRosa was involved in protecting Cuomo against harassment claims.

Among other things, it said she was involved in giving reporters personnel memos about Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to accuse him publicly of harassment. The records describe Boylan's departure from the administration amid allegations she had mistreated her staff.

Commisso stated that the attention Cuomo paid her was not normal friendliness as the governor described it.

"Maybe to him, it was normal. It was not normal to me, and to the other women he did it to, however. She said that it was not welcome and was definitely not consensual.

She claimed that he first groped her on December 31, 2019, when the governor suggested they take a selfie together.

"He was to my right. I was on my right. I took the selfie with my right hand. As I was taking the selfie, I felt his hand touch my back and rub it. It's not sliding. You know what? I don't.

Commisso, who started working for the governor's office 2017 said that this made her nervous and it made it difficult to take pictures.

She said, "I was embarrassed."

Commisso claimed that Cuomo groped him twice at the governor’s mansion in November 2020.

She said that after closing the door, "He returned to me and that was when he put up his blouse and cupped his breasts over my bra." "I clearly remember looking down and seeing his large hand. I thought to myself, 'Oh my God. This is what's happening.

Cuomo repeatedly denied that the episode ever took place.

In an interview with the investigators of the attorney general, he stated that he would have to "lose my mind" to do so to a woman he didn't know and with several staff members.

Unless victims are willing to come out in public, the Associated Press doesn't generally identify them. Commisso did.

Cuomo's lawyers attacked the investigation of the attorney general as biased in favor his female accusers.

Cuomo's advisers don't believe he will give up, even though his network of supporters shrinks. Even his once loyal Democratic allies don't believe he will survive.

"This is the Titanic, just politically." Jay Jacobs, chair of the state Democratic Party, stated that it is not going to float once more.

Cuomo may now have his closest supporters in the form of members of his extended family, including Chris Cuomo, his brother and CNN anchor. In recent days, Kenneth Cole, Cuomo’s brother-in law, took to social media to defend his "exemplary service."

Kerry Kennedy, Cuomo’s ex-wife, stated that she was praying for all involved in a statement to The Associated Press. She declined further comment.

Five district attorneys requested materials from the inquiry of the attorney general to determine if the allegations could lead to criminal charges. Craig Apple, Albany County Sheriff, stated Saturday that Cuomo may face misdemeanor criminal charges if Commisso's complaint is proven to be true.



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