Westchester DA says accusations against ex-Gov. Cuomo credible ... but he won't be charged

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Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said her office will not pursue criminal charges relating to two allegations against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo despite credible evidence.

The claims involved a state trooper positioned on Cuomo's protective detail and a White Plains woman, with both incidents allegedly occurring in Westchester.

"Our investigation found credible evidence to conclude that the alleged conduct in both instances... did occur," Rocah said in a statement released Tuesday.

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"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," Rocah said.

She noted that does not rule out the possibility of civil liability.

Following months of allegations and speculation regarding possible instances of sexual harassment from Cuomo, state Attorney General Letitia James issued a bombshell 165-page report in August. It concluded he had harassed at least 11 women — including nine current or former state employees — in violation of state and federal law.

The following day, Rocah announced her intention to investigate the criminality of the incidents. The trooper was a part of James' report, the White Plains woman was not.

Cuomo formally resigned as governor on Aug. 23 after announcing he would resign two weeks earlier.

Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo will not be charged in two allegations brought before the Westchester district attorney.
Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo will not be charged in two allegations brought before the Westchester district attorney.

What were the claims?

The reported conduct involving the state trooper occurred in the town of New Castle, where for years Cuomo had shared a home with his former longtime girlfriend, Sandra Lee. The couple split in 2019 and the house was sold last year.

The trooper worked in the Protective Services Unit, which protects the governor. That trooper, who described Cuomo's behavior toward her as generally “flirtatious” and “creepy," testified that the governor kissed her and made a comment to her that made her uncomfortable, according to the report.

After briefly meeting that trooper while she worked at a press conference of his in New York City in 2017, according to the report, Cuomo "played a role in having her hired for the PSU, even though she did not meet the minimum requirements for joining that unit at the time."

The report found that a senior state police investigator told that trooper that the minimum requirement for troopers in the Protective Services Unit had been changed from three years on the job to two years, altered specifically for her.

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The report describes an "inappropriate" interaction between Cuomo and that trooper outside of his New Castle home in September 2018. The trooper testified that she told Cuomo that she was going to Albany the next weekend for her sister’s wedding, and that he then offered to give her a tour of the governor's mansion, “unless it [was] against protocols.” Cuomo then “snickered” and walked away, according to the report.

The trooper reported another incident that occurred outside Cuomo's New Castle home in the summer of 2019. She said she was stationed outside and approached Cuomo in his driveway to ask him if he needed anything, according to the report, and Cuomo responded, "Can I kiss you?"

“I remember just freezing, being — in the back of my head, I’m like, 'Oh, how do I say no politely?' Because, in my head, if I said no, he’s going to take it out on the detail," the trooper testified. "And now I’m on the bad list.”

She replied, “Sure," then Cuomo kissed her on the cheek and "said something to the effect of, 'Oh, I’m not supposed to do that,' or 'unless that’s against the rules,'” according to the report.

Rocah said the second woman had alleged Cuomo grabbed her arm, pulled her toward him and kissed her on the cheek without seeking permission, while the two were at an event at White Plains High School. She did not specify the name of the woman.

Previously, Susan Iannucci, an office manager for the White Plains Public School District, described herself as the victim of an incident matching that description on June 12, 2018, after a photo of the moment was used by Cuomo publicly. Cuomo included the image in a montage of examples of friendly contact he had with a variety of men and women.

"I'm being put in a position where I feel as if I'm being used by Governor Cuomo to push a narrative that his habit of invading people's personal space is justified," she said.

Iannucci described finding someone had taken a photo of this moment and posted it on social media as both humiliating and distressing.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Andrew Cuomo probe: Westchester's DA says no charges coming

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