Updated: February 01, 2022 10:14 AM
Created: January 31, 2022 01:39 PM
OSWEGO, N.Y. (AP/WHEC) — The Oswego County District Attorney said Monday he will not bring criminal charges against Andrew Cuomo after a woman accused him of running his fingers across the chest of her shirt at a public event, becoming the latest prosecutor declining to pursue a criminal case over sexual harassment 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 of unwanted physical contact made by Virginia Limmiatis. 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 11 women.
Limmiatis immediately told other attendees what had happened, investigators found, but she didn’t come forward until seeing Cuomo’s press conference last year denying 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.
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.
A spokesperson for the former governor sent the following statement Monday:
“Five District Attorneys looked at the ‘work’ the top lawyer in the state produced and dropped all cases.
“Rather than answer a single substantive question about her report, Tish James dropped out of the governor’s race.
"This was before we even got a sense of the evidence she tried to hide.”
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