ALBANY, N.Y. — There was nothing consensual about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s unwanted hugs and kisses, his aide said in a new interview Monday.
Brittany Commisso, one of 11 women whose allegations of harassment were detailed in a bombshell report from Attorney General James’ office, broke her silence in an interview with “CBS This Morning” and the Albany Times Union, describing Cuomo’s repeated advances.
“These were not hugs that he would give his mother or, you know, his brother, these were hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of, and they started to be hugs with kisses on the cheek, and then there was at one point a hug and then we he went to go kiss me on the cheek he quickly turned his head and he kissed me on the lips,” she said.
Commisso, who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office last week, said working for the governor as an executive assistant began as a dream job but quickly turned into a nightmare because of his behavior.
“Maybe to him, he thought this was normal. But to me and the other women that he did this to, well, it was not normal,” she said. “It was not welcomed. And it was certainly not consensual.”
The 32-year-old said she struggled with coming forward but was buoyed by the other women who have shared their claims publicly.
“I hope that the other women understand and that I’ve seen them and I support them. And I thank them, because without them, I don’t know if I would have come forward,” she said. “I was afraid that if I had come forward, and revealed my name, that the governor and his ‘enablers,’ I like to call them, would viciously attack me, would smear my name as I had seen and heard them do before to people.”
Commisso was previously identified only as “Executive Assistant #1” in James’ report before revealing her name publicly over the weekend. She told investigators that Cuomo repeatedly harassed her and made inappropriate and sexual comments on a regular basis before groping her twice over the past two years.
In James’ report, Commisso claims Cuomo reached under her shirt and fondled her breast while they were alone at the Executive Mansion late last year.
“I have to tell you, it was — at the moment, I was in such shock that I could just tell you that I just remember looking down seeing his hand, seeing the top of my bra,” she told investigators.
A little less than a year earlier, the governor grabbed and rubbed her butt while the pair took a selfie together.
“I then felt while taking the selfie, his hand go down my back onto my butt, and he started rubbing it. Not sliding it. Not, you know, quickly brushing over it — rubbing my butt,” she told CBS News.
Cuomo has adamantly denied touching anyone inappropriately as he fights for his political life.
“That woman’s story is false. Documentary evidence does not report what she said,” Cuomo’s personal attorney Rita Glavin said Friday.
Commisso called the governor’s response “disgusting.”
“I know the truth. He knows the truth. I know what happened and so does he,” she said.
The governor has defiantly resisted calls for his resignation and has until the end of this week to submit evidence to lawmakers as the Assembly moves forward with its impeachment probe.
However, despite the governor’s protestations, investigators found Commisso and the other women credible.
“Governor Cuomo denied a number of Executive Assistant #1′s allegations, but we found that his denials lacked persuasiveness, were devoid of detail, and were inconsistent with many witnesses’ observations of his behavior toward Executive Assistant #1 and other women in the Executive Chamber,” investigators wrote.
Commisso called on Cuomo to accept the truth and step down.
“These are the facts. And it’s your turn to do the right thing. And that right thing is to resign and to tell the truth,” she said. “The governor needs to be held accountable. What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.”
Glavin said over the weekend that Cuomo has no plans to resign and is prepping for potential impeachment.
On Sunday, his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, announced her resignation, the most high-profile departure since the sexual harassment claims against the Democratic governor surfaced earlier this year.
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