Albany County District Attorney David Soares confirmed Tuesday that his office is opening a criminal investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo after a report released by state Attorney General Letitia James’ office found that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women in violation of state and federal law.
“We are conducting our own separate investigation,” Soares told “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt”. “I think after today’s presentation [by James] — which here in Albany County, we were witnessing at the same time what the rest of New Yorkers were witnessing, it’s pretty clear that we have an obligation here, and thus we reached out to the attorney general’s office seeking all the evidence upon which they uncovered and relied upon to offer their report.”
Independent investigators found that the three-term Democrat had engaged in “unwanted groping, kissing, hugging and making inappropriate comments,” toward former and current state employees. Cuomo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and did so again Tuesday — defying calls to resign by state, local and federal officials from President Biden on down.
Soares told NBC anchor Lester Holt that the report had “led myself and other prosecutors with concurrent jurisdiction to believe that criminal activity in fact had taken place.
“But we will conduct our own independent investigation that will be done expeditiously and we will arrive at those conclusions,” he added.
Much of the harassment detailed in the report took place at the Executive Mansion in Albany or at Cuomo’s offices in the state Capitol, placing the governor firmly in Soares’ sights.
Soares told Holt his office had made “overtures and efforts” Tuesday to contact Cuomo’s victims about filing a formal complaint against the governor, but none had been forthcoming so far.
“These cases are made with cooperation from our victims,” the DA said. “For any victim that’s out there, who’s watching this transmission, please reach out to our office and we will conduct our investigation as discreetly as possible.”
Anne Clark, one of the two independent lawyers hired by James for the investigation, told reporters earlier Tuesday that Cuomo’s office had already notified the Albany Police Department about allegations that the governor had groped a female aide in the Executive Mansion last year.
“All the information is fully documented in the report and any prosecutors and police departments can look at the evidence to determine if they want to take further action,” Clark said.
Albany Police Department spokesman Steve Smith told The Post there is “no active investigation” against the governor, and noted that police cannot initiate a case without a “credible victim” requesting further action.
Lawyers for Cuomo’s accusers have said they are mulling whether to file civil suits against the governor, as experts say the behavior outlined in the report leaves both the state and Cuomo himself open to liability claims.