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Cuomo accuser alleges groping by New York governor was ‘crime’

New York – An executive assistant to New York governor Andrew Cuomo described in forceful detail her groping allegations against him in an interview broadcast yesterday, saying he broke the law and must be held to account.

Brittany Commisso, who has filed a criminal complaint against the politician, spoke as Cuomo faces mounting pressure to step down after a damning report that documented the sexual harassment allegations against him from 11 women.

“The governor needs to be held accountable,” Commisso said in an interview with CBS This Morning and the Times Union newspaper. “What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.”

Commisso said Cuomo touched her inappropriately twice, groping her behind and her breast last year while they were working at his executive mansion.

The veteran Democrat, 63, has repeatedly denied ever touching a woman inappropriately.

“Maybe to him, that he thought this was normal. But to me and the other women that he did this to, it was not normal. It was not welcomed. And it was certainly not consensual,” Commisso said.

The interview aired a day after reports top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, described by New York media as one of his closest confidants, had stepped down.

DeRosa was named in the explosive report released last week that said Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including nine of whom were current or former state workers.

She was described as part of a group of loyalists working to retaliate against a woman who had accused the governor of harassment.

Mounting pressure

In her resignation note Sunday ― obtained by several US media outlets ― she said the last two years had “been emotionally and mentally trying”.

“It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years. New Yorkers’ resilience, strength, and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day,” she said.

Her resignation followed Commisso’s filing of a criminal complaint against Cuomo, increasing the likelihood of him being charged.

Commisso’s allegations formed part of the report.

Despite the mounting pressure, Cuomo has rejected calls from President Joe Biden and other leading Democrats to quit, and state lawmakers are moving to impeach him.

Cuomo was initially praised for his handling of the coronavirus crisis before he was engulfed in accusations that he covered up the scale of deaths in nursing homes ― a scandal in which DeRosa had also been implicated.

The governor faces possible impeachment over the allegations, with state lawmakers saying the process could proceed rapidly.

“Members have no confidence on the ability of the governor to remain in office,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat. “This is going to be dealt with in weeks and not months.” ― AFP

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