ALBANI, New York – The last five criminal investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct against former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ended Monday with the Oswego County District Attorney joining his peers in concluding there were insufficient legal grounds for criminal charges.
The district attorney, Gregory S. Oakes, said in a statement that his decision was not a reflection of Virginia Limiatis, the woman who came forward, “or how harmful the actions she was.”
Mr. Oakes’ reasoning reflects similar language used by prosecutors in AlbanianAnd Westchester And Nassau The counties, which opened investigations into separate allegations but refused to prosecute though it found the women accusing Mr. Cuomo to be credible. Manhattan prosecutors have also closed their investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Investigations by the state attorney general, Leticia James, and state board found that allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct by several of the women were credible. Mr. Cuomo, a three-term Democrat, Resigned a week after Mrs. James’ report issued.
Mr Cuomo has consistently denied that he touched anyone inappropriately.
“As five doctors have now been verified, none of the accusations in Tech James of falsifying a report have stood up to any level of genuine scrutiny,” said Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, in a statement. “As we have said from the beginning, the truth will come out.”
Ms Limiatis’ attorney Marianne Wang thanked Mr Oakes for what she described as careful consideration, adding: “The fact that this case has not been criminally prosecuted does not mean Cuomo is innocent.”
Ms. Limmiatis was working for the National Grid when she met Mr. Cuomo at an event in 2017. She He told the investigators To the Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Cuomo ran his fingers across her chest as he read her company’s name from her shirt. Then she said, leaning close to her cheek.
“I’ll say I see a spider on your shoulder,” she told investigators, combing her chest, adding that the experience left her “extremely humiliating and terrified.”
Mr. Cuomo and his team publicly referred to the photographs taken that day. Mr Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, said in a statement that the photos “indisputably demonstrated that Governor Cuomo did not act improperly”, hailing the outcome of the Oswego investigation as a victory for truth over “mob mentality”.
Mr Cuomo and his team decried the attorney general’s report, describing it as a political act intended to pave the way for Ms James herself’s bid for governor. (Ms. James announced her candidacy for the state’s highest office last year, but withdrew after several months, saying she had more to accomplish as attorney general.)
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In recent months, Mr. Cuomo’s team has done it sharpening his attacks on Mrs. James, saying she had willfully withheld evidence and ignored evidence that might have acquitted him.
The attorney general’s office responded on Monday, saying Mr Cuomo and his lawyer “made up or misrepresented the information to fit their version of events”.
“The findings of this independent investigation have been supported by a mountain of evidence, the association’s report, and several prosecutors, including today’s Oswego DA,” said Delaney Kempner, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General. She added, “A. Cuomo’s relentless attacks on these brave women will not hide the truth – he is a serial sexual harasser.”
The dismissal of the criminal charges by the five prosecutors, even as they confirmed the defendants’ credibility, has left many advocates against sexual violence concerned about the message that will be sent to victims about progress.
Mr. Oakes’ statement went a step further than the other plaintiffs, however, and concluded with an unusual appeal to lawmakers.
“This investigation makes clear what victims, their advocates, police and prosecutors have said: NY’s current sexual crime laws fail to properly hold perpetrators to account,” he said, adding, “Please address this matter.”
Jonah E Bromwich Contribute to the preparation of reports.