An executive assistant to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — in her first public comments since accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment — told "CBS This Morning" and the Times Union that "the governor needs to be held accountable."
Brittany Commisso is one of 11 women referenced in afrom New York State Attorney General Letitia James that alleged Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and violated state and federal law. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing. Until now, Commisso had remained anonymous, referred to only as "Executive Assistant #1" in the report.
Her full interview will air on "CBS This Morning" on Monday.
According to the attorney general's report, Commisso claimed that in 2019 and 2020 the governor "engaged in close and intimate hugs" on multiple occasions, including one incident when he "reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast." During another incident, while the executive assistant snapped a selfie, she said Cuomo "put his hand on and then rubbed and grabbed her butt."
"What he did to me was a crime," Commisso told "CBS This Morning" and the Times Union. "He broke the law."
Commisso said she believed her story was the first account described in the attorney general's report because of the nature of Cuomo's alleged actions against her.
"I believe that my story appears first due to the nature of the inappropriate conduct that the governor did to me. I believe that he groped me, he touched me, not only once, but twice. And I don't think that that had happened to any of the other women," she said. "The touching, and I believe that because of what had happened to me, that that was the most inappropriate of the actions that he had done."
Commisso described a series of escalating encounters with the governor, which she said began with "hugs with kisses on the cheek."
"Then there was at one point a hug, and then when he went to go kiss me on the cheek, he'd quickly turned his head and he kissed me on the lips," she said.
Commisso said she didn't speak up at the time because she didn't think she would be believed.
"I didn't say anything this whole time. People don't understand that this is the governor of the state of New York. There are troopers that are outside of 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," she said. "I felt as though if I did something to insult him, especially insult him in his own home, it wasn't going to be him that was going to get fired or in trouble. It was going to be me. And I felt as though if I said something that I know, who was going to believe me?"
Commisso is also the first of Cuomo's accusers toagainst the governor. On Saturday, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said his office will begin a criminal investigation, and said Cuomo could face misdemeanor charges pending the results.
Investigators for the state of New York said "the Governor engaged in a pattern of inappropriate conduct with (the) executive assistant," which, in addition to the alleged groping, also allegedly included "close and intimate hugs," "kisses on the cheeks, forehead, and at least one kiss on the lips," "touching and grabbing of Executive Assistant #1's butt during hugs and, on one occasion, while taking selfies with him."
Cuomo has denied the accusations, saying that he "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances." Rita Glavin, an attorney for the governor,that there was evidence that was not included in the attorney general's report, including emails and other documents, that allegedly undermine the credibility of the woman's account.
"This woman's story as stated in the report is false," Glavin said.