ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Albany County Sheriff has revealed new information on the sex crime charge against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who allegedly groped a former aide.
Cuomo’s spokesperson called it a sham, an improperly-filed charge that won’t pass the laugh test in court. But the sheriff said Cuomo faces overwhelming evidence and the charge was handled above board, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported Friday.
“We have a solid case,” said Sheriff Craig Apple. “This charge fits the allegation and it fits the evidence that was obtained by our criminal investigators.”
The misdemeanor forcible touching charge focuses on an allegation by former Cuomo aide Brittany Commisso, who said Cuomo groped her at the Executive Mansion last December.
WATCH: Albany County Sheriff Provides Update On Charge Against Cuomo
Sheriff Apple said he took the criminal summons against Cuomo to Albany Police Court on Thursday afternoon, as is standard. Within 10 minutes, it had been signed by a city court judge and leaked to the press before the district attorney was alerted, which would’ve been customary, but not required, he said.
“It’s relatively unusual, yeah. The internet knew about it before I even knew about it. I think it was improper. But sometimes things don’t go as planned and you’ve got to roll with it and get ready to pivot and move on,” Apple said.
WEB EXTRA: Cuomo criminal complaint
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is working hard to erase the toxic environment left by her predecessor, but refused to weigh-in on whether Cuomo should be charged.
“I’m not getting involved because there are so many issues swirling around right now,” Hochul said.
One of the issues, Attorney General Letitia James, who spearheaded the original Cuomo investigation, just announced she is running to replace Hochul as governor.
WATCH: Cuomo Accuser Brittany Commisso Speaks Out In August Interview
Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi called the charge, “a toxic intersection of law and politics,” saying James colluded with the Albany Sheriff to take Cuomo down.
“Tish James abused her office to falsely accuse Governor Cuomo because she was afraid to confront him in an election and let the people decide. Apple is only regurgitating her sham report, and has no corroborating evidence whatsoever of a crime. In this case, Apple is literally fruit of the poisonous tree,” said Azzopardi’s statement.
“That’s a pretty good pun,” said Apple. “We just handled this like a normal investigation… I’ve been accused on Twitter all night about ‘this is a political hit job.'”
The forcible touching charge carries a penalty of up to one year in jail.
Cuomo will be required to appear in court in Albany on Nov. 17. The sheriff said Cuomo won’t be handcuffed, but will be arrested and fingerprinted when he surrenders.