An executive assistant to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) who accused him of groping her inside the executive mansion is speaking out publicly for the first time.
“The governor needs to be held accountable,” Brittany Commisso told “CBS This Morning” and the Albany Times-Union in a joint interview broadcast in full on Monday.
“What he did was a crime. He broke the law,” she says in a clip of the interview released on Sunday.
Commisso’s comments come after she filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo with the Albany Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. Commisso, in the interview, said, “It was the right thing to do.”
Commisso had previously only been identified as “Executive Assistant #1” in a report on sexual harassment claims against Cuomo completed by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. In that report, Commisso said the governor reached under her blouse and groped her breast while they were alone at the governor’s mansion last year.
She said he also groped her on New Year’s Eve in 2019, after he asked her to take a selfie with him inside of his office.
As she held up the camera, she said Cuomo “moved his hand to grab her butt cheek and began to rub it. The rubbing lasted at least five seconds,” according to James’ report.
Commisso also accused the governor of regularly hugging her and kissing her on the cheek. She said he kissed her on the lips once, as well.
“These were not hugs that he would give his mother or, you know, his brother,” Commisso said during the interview. “These were hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of.”
Commisso said she didn’t come forward until recently because she feared retaliation by the governor.
“I felt as though if I did something to insult him, especially insult him in his own home, it wasn’t going to be him that was going to get fired or in trouble,” she said, adding that his alleged advances were “not normal,” “not welcomed” and “certainly not consensual.”
When questioned as part of James’ investigation, Cuomo denied the allegations. He did say that he often hugs and kisses people, and may have kissed certain staff members on the lips without remembering whom.
Similar allegations against the governor from 10 other women were included in James’ report.
Cuomo has faced resignation calls from many top Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. But Cuomo has so far refused to step down.
Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, announced her resignation Sunday, ditching the governor’s shrinking circle of loyalists. The state attorney general’s report found DeRosa spearheaded efforts to retaliate against one of the women who publicly accused the third-term Democrat in December.
DeRosa did not name Cuomo or mention the sexual harassment allegations in her resignation announcement.
“Personally, the past 2 years have been emotionally and mentally trying,” DeRosa wrote in her statement. “I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state.”
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