NY DA: No, we won’t be pressing charges against Cuomo

When I was young, my grandmother used to tell me amazing tales about life in the 1800s in the area where I grew up. These stories included a man who went by the name of Plum Loomis, a member of the Loomis Gang of upstate New York. He had developed a remarkable reputation over the course of his life for being the only person known to have been “hung three times and still die of natural causes.” Every time the authorities managed to get a noose around his neck he somehow managed to slip away with the help of his brothers and their “associates.” I only bring that bit of local history up because I’m starting to suspect that former Governor Andrew Cuomo might have a bit of Loomis blood running through his veins. Not very long ago, not only had Cuomo been driven from office, but he was facing charges of sexual assault or harassment in court and he was being forced to give back the advance from his lucrative 2020 book deal.

But now, only a few months later, it’s looking more and more like he’ll get to keep the book deal payday after all. And on top of that, the Westchester County District Attorney’s office that was supposedly preparing criminal charges against Cuomo just announced that he will not, in fact, be going to court and facing charges on two of the most serious sexual abuse claims raised against him. (Daily Wire)

The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that it had concluded a thorough investigation into two sexual misconduct allegations against then-New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo and that while “credible evidence” was found, there will be no forthcoming charges against Cuomo.

The district attorney’s office outlined the two allegations that it investigated:

1. A woman, identified as Trooper 1 in the Attorney General’s Report, alleged that, when Cuomo was the Governor and Trooper 1 was a member of his detail and on duty at his home in Mount Kisco, she asked the Governor if he needed anything and he responded by asking her if he could kiss her. She further indicated that she was concerned about the ramifications of denying the Governor’s request and so she said “sure.” The Governor then kissed her on the cheek and, as indicated in the Attorney General’s report, “said something to the effect of, ‘oh, I’m not supposed to do that’ or ‘unless that’s against the rules.”‘

2. A second woman has alleged (publicly and to our investigators) that Cuomo grabbed her arm, pulled her toward him and kissed her on the cheek without seeking permission for such a greeting while the two were at an event at White Plains High School.

At first glance, the statement from Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. They’ve determined that Cuomo’s actions are unacceptable and that the evidence against him was “credible.” The DA also said that “the alleged conduct in both instances described above did occur.” She reiterated in the statement that “the allegations and witnesses were credible” and called the Governor’s conduct “concerning.”

Despite all of that, the DA said that they cannot pursue criminal charges because of “the statutory requirements of the criminal laws of New York.” This came only days after Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith made a similar announcement, saying she would not be pressing charges in a case where Cuomo was accused of “inappropriately touching” a female state trooper. She used very similar language, saying that she “found the allegations credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal under New York law.”

At first, I had wondered whether the statute of limitations had run out on these accusations, barring the state from bringing charges. But that doesn’t apply to these allegations. What it sounds like is that the investigation indicates that he probably did what he was accused of, but the conduct wasn’t sufficiently gross to hold up at trial and result in a conviction. Cuomo is facing arraignment on a misdemeanor charge of “groping” in January, but that one will almost certainly not result in any jail time even if he’s convicted.

If we remove all of the politics and the overwhelming “ick” factor from all of this, perhaps this result isn’t as suspicious as it appears at first glance. I would hope by now that nobody would confuse me for someone who is prone to making excuses for Andrew Cuomo or taking his side in any way, but the various District Attorneys may have found themselves between a rock and a hard place here. Uninvited kissing, particularly on the cheek, is rude and could certainly be offputting for many people, particularly women. But how many of us have aunts and uncles who were constantly “guilty” of the same thing? Could you really convince a jury that such actions rise to the level of sexual assault that merits a trial and possible jail sentence? A separate charge of reaching under a woman’s shirt and groping her breasts would definitely make the cut, but I rather doubt a jury would bring someone in for uninvited cheek kissing.

Andrew Cuomo’s political career is almost certainly over, though I hope I’m not jinxing us all by saying that. But anyone who wanted to see this story end with Cuomo sharing a cell with some other minor felons is likely going to wind up being disappointed. I would be far more interested in seeing the District Attorney investigate Cuomo’s connections to all of his henchmen and donors who wound up being convicted of campaign finance crimes related to “the Buffalo Billion,” but apparently nobody is interested in asking any questions about that.

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