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Former Cuomo aide: 'What he did to me was a crime'

Brittany Commisso, the woman identified as "Executive Assistant

Brittany Commisso, the woman identified as "Executive Assistant #1" in Attorney General Letitia James' report, speaks with CBS News' Jericka Duncan in an interview to air Monday morning. Credit: CBS This Morning and Times Union

ALBANY — A former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the first of his accusers to file a criminal complaint against him, has spoken out publicly for the first time, saying she turned to law enforcement because "the governor needs to be held accountable."

Brittany Commisso, 32, revealed herself Sunday as the Cuomo aide described as "Executive Assistant #1" in State Attorney General Letitia James’ report detailing the governor’s alleged misconduct.

"What he did to me was a crime," Commisso said in an interview with "CBS This Morning" and the Albany Times Union that partially aired Sunday.

"He broke the law," she said.

Commisso filed a criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department against the governor alleging sexual harassment. It is the first known instance where one of the women accusing Cuomo of misconduct has filed a criminal complaint.

Nassau County is among four counties statewide besides Albany where prosecutors have opened investigations.

The full interview will be aired Monday on "CBS This Morning" — about two hours before a meeting of a State Assembly committee considering impeachment charges against Cuomo.

James' report concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, retaliated against one of them, and broke multiple state and federal laws.

Executive Assistant #1 told state investigators that Cuomo groped her on multiple occasions between 2019 and 2020, including an allegation that he "reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast," according to the report.

On Saturday, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, without naming Commisso, said his office would begin investigating a complaint filed by a former Cuomo aide concerning "conduct of a sexual nature."

Cuomo, in a pretaped video that aired Tuesday after James released her report, denied Commisso’s allegations.

Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s attorney in the matter, said the alleged groping of Commisso never happened. The governor "doesn’t really know" Commisso, Glavin said at a Friday news conference.

The Cuomo administration didn’t comment directly Sunday on Commisso’s remarks but referred to Glavin’s previous comments.

Glavin said that schedules, photos and visitors’ logs show the woman wasn’t at the mansion on Nov. 16, 2020, a date referenced in the report.

But, in fact, the report clearly says the woman told investigators the groping incident occurred around — but not exactly on — that date.

The report said she testified under oath that the governor groped her at the Executive Mansion, a few blocks from the State Capitol.

She "planned to take it to the grave," the report said, but told colleagues about the incident after Cuomo, responding to the first wave of harassment claims, held a news conference in March and asserted that he’d never touched anyone inappropriately.

On Sunday, Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the chairman of the National Governors Association, joined the growing list of public officials calling on Cuomo to resign.

Hutchinson, who previously served as vice chairman of the organization under Cuomo, had previously declined to weigh in on Cuomo’s future, telling reporters earlier this year he would wait until the outcome of the state probe.

Appearing on CBS’ "Face the Nation," he called James' investigation "a very credible review" and urged Cuomo to step down, especially "if criminal charges are filed."

"No woman should have to go to the workplace and have to choose between a paycheck and being assaulted, particularly when it's in a public environment," Hutchinson said.

With Laura Figueroa Hernandez

State & Region