A local sheriff said Saturday that embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) could face misdemeanor charges stemming from allegations from a former aide that the governor groped her last year while they were alone in a room at the executive mansion.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, who spoke to reporters on Saturday, stressed that they were in the early stages of their investigation and would not provide a timeline on how long the investigation would take, NBC New York reported.
“I have no timeline whatsoever,” Apple said, according to the NBC affiliate. “I can tell you I had a female come forward, which was the hardest thing she has ever done, and made a criminal complaint against the governor, and we have a proven record of helping people, and we will do everything in our power to help her.”
The case stems from allegations made by a former aide who accused the third-term governor of reaching under her shirt and inappropriately touching her last year while they were in the executive mansion, according to The Associated Press. Speaking with investigators from the state attorney general’s office, she also claimed that Cuomo had touched her rear end while they took a photo together.
The woman, an executive assistant whose name has not be publicly released, was referred to in a report released earlier this week by state Attorney General Letitia James as “Executive Assistant #1.”
Officials said that the former aide had met with investigators from the sheriff’s office earlier this week and that they planned to have her return to do a longer interview, though no additional details were provided regarding when she would return.
In the meantime, Apple said his office had reached out to both Cuomo’s lawyers and the state attorney general’s office for material to supplement the sheriff office’s investigation, NBC New York reported.
“We are in the infant stages of the investigation,” Apple told reporters, according to the outlet.
“We have lots of fact-finding to do and a lot of interviews, and I won’t rush it because of who he is, and I won’t delay it because of who he is. It would be totally premature for me to comment on any of that,” Apple added.
Cuomo has denied inappropriately touching the aide’s breasts, saying, “I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing.”
Cuomo’s lawyer has also said that the allegation was not true.
“He is 63 years old. He has spent 40 years in public life and for him to all of the sudden be accused of a sexual assault of an executive assistant that he really doesn’t know, doesn’t pass muster,” Cuomo’s lawyer Rita Glavin said, according to the AP.
The Hill has reached out to Cuomo’s lawyer for comment.
Cuomo delivered a lengthy video address earlier this week in which he refused to resign following the bombshell report released by James’s office, which detailed instances where it said the governor sexually harassed 11 women.