New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive assistant broke her silence in an interview that aired Monday, less than a week after the state attorney general released a damning report saying the governor sexually harassed 11 women. The report has sparked renewed calls for Cuomo's resignation, an impeachment inquiry by the New York State Assembly, and multiple criminal probes from prosecutors.
Brittany Commisso, who was identified only as "Executive Assistant #1" in the AG's report, came forward in an interview with CBS This Morning and the Albany Times Union, days after she filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo with the Albany County Sheriff's Office.
She alleged that Cuomo groped her twice: once when he rubbed her butt while they were taking a selfie in December 2019 and a second time when he groped her breast while hugging her in his private office at the governor's mansion last November.
"What he did was a crime," Commisso said in the interview. "He broke the law."
"The governor needs to be held accountable," she added.
Commisso also called for him to resign and said that he needed to seek counseling.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said Saturday that he has started a criminal investigation based on Commisso's complaint last week. Apple said that while the investigation was in its very early stages, Cuomo could be facing misdemeanor charges.
Cuomo has denied all accusations against him. He has refused to submit to calls for his resignation, including one from President Joe Biden, even as those who helped him fight against the allegations are facing the consequences.
Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, resigned on Sunday night, and Roberta Kaplan, the chair of Time’s Up — a charity supporting sexual assault survivors — resigned Monday, after the AG’s report said both women were involved in efforts to discredit one of Cuomo’s alleged victims, Lindsey Boylan. The Human Rights Campaign — the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the country — said it was investigating the role its director, Alphonso David, played in retaliating against Boylan.
On Monday, members of New York State Assembly's Judiciary Committee met as part of the impeachment inquiry against Cuomo.
Charles Lavine, a member of the state Assembly and chair of the Judiciary Committee, said Monday that he expected the impeachment investigation to conclude "very soon" — likely in several weeks — after which the committee would make a recommendation to the state Assembly on whether to draft articles of impeachment against Cuomo.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he was "heartbroken" and that "no one should have to endure the type of behavior detailed in the Attorney General's report."
"As I stated last week, the governor has clearly lost the confidence of the Assembly majority," Heastie said.
He noted that this was the first time in more than 100 years that the Assembly was undertaking an impeachment investigation of a sitting governor.
Apart from the ongoing impeachment investigation, the state Assembly's outside counsel is also conducting an independent inquiry into multiple allegations against Cuomo, including those involving sexual misconduct and his related retaliation, as well as his handling of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes.
In her interview, Commisso described how Cuomo would hug and kiss her inappropriately and without her consent.
"These were not hugs that he would give his mother or his brother," she said. "These were hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of."