Andrew Cuomo, the former New York governor whose treatment of women in his vicinity led to his resignation in November, will not face charges over his alleged sexual harassment of a state trooper despite a district attorney suggesting that her office had the evidence it would need to convince a jury.
Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr Cuomo would not face a criminal charge due to statutory limitations set by New York state law that prohibited her office from going forward with prosecution. She added in her statement that there was “credible evidence” to suggest that a crime had occurred.
“Our investigation found credible evidence to conclude that the alleged conduct in [two] instances described above did occur,” said Ms Rocah on Tuesday. “However, 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.”
Mr Cuomo resigned from office after facing allegations from multiple women of inappropriate, sexually charged conduct including both comments and unwanted physical conduct. The allegations included claims from a state trooper assigned to protect Mr Cuomo and his family as well as other women with whom the governor had been in contact, including a woman who was still working in his office when her story was made public.
The former governor acknowledged that some of his conduct had likely made women uncomfortable, but denied for weeks that it arose to the level of criminal actions. He eventually resigned in November after New York’s attorney general released a report stating that her office found the women’s allegations to be credible.
His lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, would go on to become the state’s first female governor as a result of his resignation. The scandal also soon enveloped his brother, Chris Cuomo, who lost his job hosting CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time after it was revealed that he helped the governor with his defence strategy.
While he will not face criminal charges for his conduct involving the state trooper, Mr Cuomo remains under indictment for allegedly groping a woman who worked in the governor’s office. The charge is a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail.
Letitia James, the Democratic attorney general for the state of New York, said in October that the criminal charge against the former governor validated the findings of her report, a sentiment that is likely only reinforced by Ms Rocah’s statement confirming that she found evidence to suggest Mr Cuomo behaved inappropriately.
“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate allegations that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor. The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report,” said Ms James in October.