Westchester DA Won’t Pursue Criminal Charges Against Cuomo

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The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office will not pursue criminal charges against ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo on two separate incidents where he allegedly inappropriately kissed two women on the cheek.

District Attorney Miriam Rocah found credible evidence that Cuomo kissed a state trooper assigned to protect him at his home in Mount Kisco, N.Y., and grabbed and, without asking, kissed a second woman on the cheek at an event at White Plains High School. Cuomo allegedly asked to kiss the trooper on the cheek, and she said “sure,” fearing the consequences of declining his request, according to a statement from the DA’s office. 

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Rocah added that she could not pursue criminal charges against the former governor, because the alleged acts did not rise to the level of criminal conduct under New York law.

“In both instances, my office has determined that, although the allegations and witnesses were credible, and the conduct concerning, we cannot pursue criminal charges due to the statutory requirements of the criminal laws of New York.” Rocah said in a statement.

Rocah started her investigation earlier this summer, after requesting documents from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who released a report in August which found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including female staffers and the unidentified state trooper. The report details more of Cuomo’s behavior toward the state trooper that falls outside the scope of Rocah’s criminal investigation, including how he allegedly ran his hands across her body and asked her to find him a girlfriend. 

The woman who accused Cuomo of kissing her at a White Plains high school event, a 61-year-old office manager for the public school, accused Cuomo of sexual harassment after he used a photo of him kissing her on the cheek as part of a montage of images of him kissing or embracing people that he presented while defending himself against accusations of sexual harassment, The Journal News reported.

Rocah’s findings would not limit any civil liability by Cuomo — which he may face due to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the sexual harassment allegations made against him in James’ report and if Cuomo’s actions violated the Civil Rights Act, though the status of that case is unknown, CBS reported. 

“We continue to recognize the bravery of the women and witnesses who have cooperated with law enforcement and we remain committed to supporting them and all survivors,” Rocah added in her statement. “As in all cases of alleged misconduct, my office will investigate such claims irrespective of the position or status of the accusers or the accused.”

A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office charged Cuomo with a misdemeanor sex offense at the end of October for allegedly forcibly touching a former staffer’s breast in the New York State Executive Mansion on Dec. 7, 2020, the day after the governor’s 63rd birthday. But that charge may be “defective” because it lacked a sworn statement from the victim, according to Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

At the time, a spokesperson for Cuomo said the Albany investigation “reeks of Albany politics and perhaps worse.”

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.