Stefanik, James talk Cuomo as lawyer asks Albany sheriff to save investigation records

Cuomo Under Fire
Craig Apple

FILE – Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple speaks during a news conference at the Albany County Sheriff office after a criminal complaint was filed charging former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with a misdemeanor sex offense, Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, in New Scotland, N.Y. A lawyer for Cuomo wants the sheriff to preserve records of any communications his office has had with the alleged victim, journalists or other investigators. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

NEW YORK (AP/WWTI) — A lawyer for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’ wants the sheriff who charged the Democrat with groping a woman to preserve records of any communications his office had with the alleged victim, journalists, or other investigators.

A city court in Albany this week issued a summons charging Cuomo with forcible touching after a criminal complaint was filed by Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. Cuomo has claimed that the charge was based on flimsy evidence and was politically motivated.

In a letter to Apple on Saturday, Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin demanded that the sheriff’s office preserve all records related to the case, including any notes of conversations it had with the woman who accused the ex-governor of groping her, Brittany Commisso. Criminal defendants are entitled to a broad scope of evidence and other material related to an investigation, which is typically turned over before trial.

A preservation letter is a standard legal tactic. The letter also asked for records of any communications with two legal teams that investigated Cuomo’s conduct, one that worked for the state Assembly and another for Attorney General Letitia James.

For her part, James said that the misdemeanor charge helped validate the sexual harassment report led by her office earlier this year:

“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate allegations that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor. The criminal charges brought today against Mr. Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report.”

Cuomo resigned from office in August after investigators working for James authored a report concluding he had sexually harassed 11 women, including Commisso. The investigation found that the Cuomo administration was a “hostile work environment” that was “rife with fear and intimidation.” Investigators spoke with 179 people and reviewed 74,000 pieces of evidence.

James announced Friday that she will run for governor. Cuomo’s team has accused her of purposely ignoring evidence in his favor because she wanted him out of office.

At a news conference Friday, Apple said he was confident in the strength of the case and insisted politics played no role. He also called the governor’s operatives “bullies.”

Meanwhile on Friday in the North Country, Rep. Elise Stefanik—among the top Republican lawmakers in the country—released a statement calling for Cuomo’s arrest. “[The] announcement that criminal charges are being brought against serial sexual predator and disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo for sexual assault charges is a step in the right direction. Justice must be served…Corrupt Cuomo and his hacks belong behind bars,” she said, and continued:

Sadly, this is just one of many crimes committed by sexual predator Andrew Cuomo during his time in office. If New Yorkers are to believe there is equal justice under the law, Cuomo and those who assisted him must also be arrested and prosecuted for their criminal acts covering up the tragic deaths of countless vulnerable seniors in nursing homes. 

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