Andrew Cuomo's Misdemeanor Charge Fully Explained

On October 28, former Governor Andrew Cuomo was back in the news for a misdemeanor criminal charge. In August, Cuomo resigned as the Governor of New York amid sexual harassment allegations following an extensive investigation from Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General. James released a 165-page report on the Cuomo investigation that said the governor sexually harassed 11 women.

After the New York Attorney General's report was made public, Cuomo's resignation calls came from both sides of the political aisle. Even President Joe Biden called for the once-popular Cuomo to resign if the allegations were proven true, telling ABC's George Stephanopolous, "A woman should be presumed to [be] telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward."

Perhaps surprisingly, one of Cuomo's only defenders after the sexual harassment report was longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani. The former mayor of New York City tweeted, "Today's AG James' 'trial by press conference' marks the end of Due Process and Constitutional Law as we know it in America! Conviction by press conference, investigative report and media verdict without a trial became illegal one thousand years ago."

However, despite ending his term as governor prematurely, Cuomo hasn't been able to totally put the scandal behind him. On October 28, he was officially charged with a misdemeanor. 

Andrew Cuomo's misdemeanor charge was filed prematurely

A sheriff's investigator filed a summons charging former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with the misdemeanor charge of forcible touching on October 28. However, sources told The Albany Times-Union that the summons was "prematurely issued" because neither the prosecutor nor the alleged victim Brittany Commisso was consulted.

Commisso's attorney Brian D. Premo told the Times-Union, "Like the district attorney's office, [Commisso] was informed about this recent filing through media." The attorney continued, "It was my client's understanding that the district attorney's office ... was going to conduct a thorough, impartial and apolitical evaluation of the case, and only after completion of the investigation, speak to my client to allow her to make an informed decision as to whether she would proceed as a victim in the case."

The Daily Beast reported that Cuomo's attorney Rita Glavin alleged that the premature summons filing on October 29 had less to do with the letter of the law and more with political vendettas. "Sheriff Apple didn't even tell the District Attorney what he was doing. This is not professional law enforcement; this is politics." However, Mariann Wang, an attorney for two of Cuomo's accusers who were not part of this latest Albany legal filing, celebrated the development, saying, "Cuomo is being held to account as he should be, including by being forced to answer a criminal charge." If convicted, Cuomo could face up to a year in prison or three years probation.