Executive assistant to Andrew Cuomo details allegations of sexual harassment by New York governor

NOW: Executive assistant to Andrew Cuomo details allegations of sexual harassment by New York governor


By Elizabeth Joseph, CNN

(CNN) -- An assistant to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who until now has only been referred to as "Executive Assistant 1," has publicly identified herself and detailed her claims of sexual harassment by the embattled Democratic governor.

Brittany Commisso, one of 11 women whose claims of sexual abuse were substantiated by an August 3 report by the state's attorney general, made her first public comments in an interview with "CBS This Morning" and the Albany Times Union.

"It was the right thing to do. The governor needs to be held accountable," she said in the CBS interview when asked why she filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo with the Albany Sheriff's Office.

"What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law," Commisso said when asked if "being held accountable, to you, means seeing the governor charged with a crime."

According to the state's report, Commisso told investigators Cuomo grabbed her buttocks during hugs and a photo. The report also detailed an allegation, previously reported by the Albany Times Union, of an incident at the governor's mansion in which Cuomo allegedly reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast.

"There started to be hugs with kisses on the cheek, and then there was at one point a hug, and when he went to go kiss on the cheek, he quickly turned his head and he kissed me on the lips," she said.

When asked by CBS' Jericka Duncan what she said during the alleged incident, Commisso responded that she "didn't say anything."

"I didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. I didn't say anything this whole time. People don't understand that this is the governor of the State of New York," she continued. "There are troopers that are outside the mansion and there are some mansion staff. Those troopers that are there, they are not there to protect me. They are there to protect him."

Attorneys representing Cuomo and his office declined to comment on the interview to CNN, and the governor has denied the allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment. CNN has reached out to New York State Police.

Rita Glavin, Cuomo's personal attorney, told CNN's Pamela Brown that she's unaware of any potential plans by the governor to resign from office. Glavin has repeatedly picked over details of the attorney general's report.

"To the extent you're asking me about if he's going to resign, I am not aware of the governor having plans to resign," she said in a live televised interview Saturday evening, adding Cuomo is focused on the opportunity to give a submission or evidence to the New York's State Assembly for its impeachment investigation, which CNN has reported is nearing completion.

Fabien Levy, a spokesman and top aide to state Attorney General Letitia James, has defended the integrity of the investigation.

"The independent investigators selected are widely respected professionals, recognized for their legal and investigatory ability," he said in statement. "To attack this investigation and attempt to undermine and politicize this process takes away from the bravery displayed by these women."

Investigators from the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, hired by the State Assembly to lead the impeachment investigation, are expected to brief the Assembly's Judiciary Committee Monday morning.

Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine, a Democrat, is expected to brief the media before the scheduled 9:30 a.m. meeting. Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie and Lavine are then expected to give a news conference following the meeting, Mike Whyland, a spokesman for Heastie, confirmed to CNN Sunday.

Brian Premo, an attorney representing Commisso, told CNN his client waited for the release of the attorney general's report before she publicly identified herself in the media.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated where the initial clips of the interview were released.

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