Albany County Sheriff talks next steps for Cuomo criminal complaint
ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Albany County Sheriff Friday held a news conference to address the criminal complaint against former New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
The criminal summons charging former governor Andrew Cuomo with misdemeanor forcible touching was filed Thursday in the City of Albany Court. It accuses Cuomo of grabbing a woman’s breast under her blouse on Dec. 7, 2020, on the second floor of the Governor’s Executive Mansion.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple addressed skepticism surrounding the accusations because of the date.
"The victim is unsure of the exact date and I think that was — everybody just sees the opportunity to say ‘that’s impossible this happened because of that date’ that’s not really accurate," Apple said.
Apple said the summons has not been served to Cuomo yet, and that he expects that will happen sometime next week.
When asked if Cuomo will be arrested at some point, Apple said "Yes."
Apple said investigators spent four months investigating and interviewing witnesses before sending their findings for the court to review.
"Our investigative staff did a wonderful job," Apple said "They took a very high-profile case and they executed a lot of search warrants, they went through a lot of data."
Apple said the summons was issued faster than normal and released online before he was aware it had happened. He said he thought the move was improper.
"We weren’t expecting a five-minute turnaround," Apple said. "We got a five-minute turnaround."
Though, Apple reiterated several times that the way the paperwork was handled does not compromise his case, which he says investigators spent many nights and weekends working hard on.
"The way it went down has nothing to do with the case," Apple said. "The case is a very solid case. We have great information that was obtained, we met our burden as far as probable cause, and we have filed."
Apple said Cuomo is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 17, 2021. Apple said he expects that Cuomo will be arraigned, processed, then released. Though, Apple said, Cuomo’s attorneys could potentially motion to change the date.
He said he is unsure of whether or not the case will go to trial, but that his office has an "overwhelming amount of evidence" and that the victim has "been cooperating fully, every day, every step of the way."
"I think we have an overwhelming amount of evidence." – Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple on the forcible touching case against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/5z9E0E1QM6— Berkeley Brean (@whec_bbrean) October 29, 2021
Apple said he talked to the Albany County District Attorney a few days prior and is confident he will prosecute the case, but said he can’t get into details of what they talked about.
When asked if the complaint was political in nature, Apple said, "I don’t even know what that means. You know, I’ve been accused on Twitter all night of ‘This is a political hit job’ Why? How? How is the Albany County Sheriff doing a political hit job? That is ridiculous. We are an apolitical organization. Maybe you folks aren’t from the area, but the people from the area — they’re pretty sure that it’s not a hit job."
Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, released the following statement in response to Apple’s press conference:
“The Governor did not assault Ms. Commisso on November 16, November 25, some day in November when she was tasked with taking a photograph, December 7, or any other date.
“What Sheriff Apple did not say today is that the allegation is totally uncorroborated, and has been evolving since March. What Sheriff Apple did say about doing a “separate” investigation from the DA, with “our victim,” speaks volumes about his professed objectivity.
“The timing of this charge, on the eve of Tish James announcing her run for Governor, is highly suspect and should give all of us pause that the heavy hand of politics is behind this decision.
“We expect clear-headed people will make better decisions going forward, but should this case move forward we are prepared to vigorously defend the Governor and challenge every aspect of the specious, inconsistent and uncorroborated allegations made against him.”
Watch the Albany County Sheriff address the criminal complaint live below (mobile users click here.):