NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The sexual harassment investigation against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is moving forward.
The Albany County Sheriff’s Department is now investigating a complaint that could lead to criminal charges, CBS2’s Cory James reported Saturday.
The alleged victim filed a complaint a couple days ago. The Albany sheriff said she spent about an hour at the department with her attorney, detailing what she says happened.
It was the latest development in the Cuomo investigation.
“I had a female victim come forward, which had to be the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life. At this point, I’m very comfortable and safe saying that she is in fact a victim. I cannot get into the nature of her specific allegations. The conduct was sexual in nature,” Sheriff Craig Apple said.
Apple would not release further details about the allegations, but added there could be a possible misdemeanor charge.
“It could lead to an arrest,” he said.
The governor’s former assistant is also one of 11 women accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment.
In state Attorney General Letitia James‘ report, the former aide claims in 2019 and 2020 the governor “… engaged in close and intimate hugs” on multiple occasions, including one incident when he “… reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast.”
The governor has denied the allegations.
“Let me be clear, that never happened,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s attorney, Rita Glavin, spoke out following Apple’s press conference.
“What he did, which I thought was interesting, was that we’re going to do everything in our power to help her, and I think he also said this is the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life. And that gives me a lot of pause, that he hasn’t done any investigation and he’s drawn a conclusion,” Glavin said.
While supporters showed up to rally outside Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Saturday, nearly 50 Democratic county chairs are calling for the governor to resign in a joint statement.
Political expert Juan Polanco explained why.
“If you’re a Democrat, you’re gonna face a primary in September. You’re gonna face a primary next year and that primary is going to be sometime in June. And you’re gonna have to answer to Democrats as to why you supported a governor who had been accused by a fellow Democrat in a report, an independent report that stated he committed all of these claims of sexual harassment. So, I don’t see how he survives this,” Polanco said.
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou got emotional on national television talking about the allegations, which she said also hit home for her.
“I was 13 years old when I was sexually assaulted by my own teacher. After my own assault, I went to class and then I went to lunch,” Niou said.
Niou said she believes Cuomo, who tweeted eight years ago “There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment,” should take his own advice and step down.
“He, right now, is not able to govern, right? He’s not the leader we need right now,” Niou said.
As for reports of possible retaliation by the governor’s administration during these investigations, Apple said, “I’m the county sheriff. I’m not going to be intimidated. I’m not going to be coerced. That would not play out well for anybody.”
The attorney general released a statement that reads, in part, “We will cooperate fully with the Albany sheriff and turn over all evidence related to this complainant. Similarly, we will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, as appropriate.”
CBS2 reached out to Cuomo’s office for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Also, an exclusive interview with the alleged victim who filed the criminal complaint will air Monday on CBS This Morning. In that interview she stated, “What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.”