New York prosecutor drops harassment case against Cuomo

Northeast

Photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

(AP) — An upstate New York district attorney said Monday he will not bring criminal charges against Andrew Cuomo, becoming the latest prosecutor declining to pursue a criminal case over sexual misconduct allegations against the former governor.

Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes said in a prepared statement that there was “not a sufficient legal basis” to bring charges against Cuomo based on the allegation made by Virginia Limmiatis, who said Cuomo ran his fingers across the chest of her shirt at a public event. Oakes said the decision was based solely on a legal assessment and that he found Limmiatis to be reliable and reasonable.

“In no way should this decision be interpreted as casting doubt upon the character or credibility of Ms. Limmiatis, or how harmful the acts she experienced were,” Oakes said.

The energy company worker said Cuomo ran his fingers on the lettering that ran across the chest of her shirt when they met in a rope line at a 2017 event in the central New York county. He then told her he was going to say there was a spider on her shoulder and proceeded to brush her chest with his hand, according to a report released in August by state Attorney General Letitia James that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women.

Limmiatis immediately told other attendees what had happened, investigators found, but she didn’t come forward until seeing last year’s press conference during which Cuomo denied he’d touched anyone inappropriately.

“Cuomo not only touched my chest inappropriately, but whispered in my ear afterwards to make up a patently ridiculous excuse to cover up his behavior,” Limmiatis said in a statement released by her attorney Monday.

Cuomo attorney Rita Glavin, who has been highly critical of the attorney general’s report, said that photographs from the event show Cuomo did not act improperly.

“Truth and the rule of law prevailed, not politics or mob mentality,” Glavin said in a prepared statement.

Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said none of the allegations reviewed by prosecutors around the state have “stood up to any level of real scrutiny” and called the attorney general’s report “a political hit job.”

Earlier this year, the only criminal charge filed against Cuomo was dismissed by a judge in Albany at the local prosecutors’ request. That case involved an allegation that he groped an aide in the executive mansion in 2020 and was seen as the most serious legal threat facing Cuomo.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares said although the aide was credible, and some evidence supported her account, he believed he couldn’t win a conviction.

Two prosecutors in the New York City suburbs separately announced that Cuomo would not face charges for allegations involving other women who said they had been subjected to unwanted kisses or touches.

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