An aide who accused Andrew Cuomo of groping her said in her first TV interview that she was initially afraid to identify herself because she feared the New York governor’s “enabling factors” would destroy her if she spoke.
Brittany Comiso, an executive assistant to Mr. Cuomo’s staff, detailed her interactions with the Democrat in a joint interview with CBS and the Times Union of Albany that aired Monday, in which a key legislative committee said it would recommend whether Mr. Cuomo should be impeached at home. “Several weeks.”
Ms Commisso has spoken before, first in an anonymous interview with Times Union last winter, and then as one of 11 women who said they had been sexually harassed by Mr. 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, and submitted a report to the county sheriff on Thursday.
But until now, the public has not heard her tell her story.
“I was afraid that if I were to come forward and reveal my name, the governor and his assistants, I should call them, would attack me fiercely, and slander my name, as I have seen and heard them do before to the people,” said Mrs. Commisso (32).
She said she also wanted to protect her daughter, but now feels that speaking out shows her “she has a voice.”
“I would never want her to be afraid to speak,” said Mrs. Commisso.
“I would never want her to be afraid of anyone in power, man or woman.”
The interview was broadcast as Mr. Cuomo faced another day under fire.
Dozens of Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have urged Mr. Cuomo to leave office.
About two-thirds of state assembly members said they would favor an impeachment trial if he refused to resign, according to Associated Press statistics.
A simple majority vote is needed only to start an impeachment trial.
The association’s judiciary committee met to discuss how to end an ongoing investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s conduct with women, and other issues, including the use of staff to help with his $5 million written deal and his administration’s decision to withhold complete statistics on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes from the public.
The assistant quit
Cuomo will go into the fight without his former major assistant, Melissa DeRosa, who resigned late Sunday, saying the past two years have been “emotionally and mentally trying”.
The report, published by the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, said Ms DeRosa had played a leading role in trying to protect Mr Cuomo from harassment lawsuits.
Among other things, she said she was involved in giving reporters staff memos about Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse him of harassment.
The records describe Ms Boylan’s exit from management amid allegations that she mistreated her staff.
In her CBS interview, Commisso said Cuomo first touched her on December 31, 2019, when the governor suggested the two take a selfie together.
“He was on my left. I was on the right. With my right hand I took the selfie. Then I felt while taking the selfie, his hand going down my back to my ass, and he started rubbing it. No sliding. No, you know, they wipe it fast — rubbing my ass.”
Commisso, who began working in the governor’s office in 2017, said this made her so nervous that her hands started trembling, making it difficult for her to even take a photo.
“I was embarrassed,” she said.
Ms Commisso said Mr Cuomo touched her for the second time at the Governor’s Palace in November 2020.
“He came back to me and then put his hand on my blouse and wrapped my chest on my chest,” she said after closing the door.
“I remember exactly looking down, seeing his hand, which is a big hand, thinking to myself, ‘Oh my God. This is happening.'”
Mr Cuomo has repeatedly denied the incident.
In an interview with investigators with the state attorney general, he said “I would lose my mind to do such a thing” to a woman he barely knew, with several employees around.
The Associated Press generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual misconduct unless they decide to speak out, as Ms. Commisso did.
Mr Cuomo’s lawyers attacked the prosecutor’s investigation as biased in favor of the accused.
At least five county attorneys have requested materials from the attorney general’s investigation to see if any of the allegations could lead to criminal charges.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said Saturday that Cuomo could face misdemeanor charges if investigators substantiate Comiso’s complaint. – AP
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