Watch CBS News

No Criminal Charges Despite 'Credible, Deeply Troubling' Allegations By State Trooper Against Andrew Cuomo, Nassau DA Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not be facing criminal charges over an alleged incident that took place at Belmont Park in Sept. 2019.

A female state trooper accused the governor of running the palm of his hand across her stomach as she held the door open for him. The trooper told investigators she "felt completely violated" by Cuomo.

Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith released the following statement about the decision:

The NCDA has concluded its investigation into allegations of misconduct by former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo at Belmont Racetrack in September 2019 as detailed in the Attorney General's report. Our exhaustive investigation found the allegations credible, deeply troubling, but not criminal under New York law. It is important to note that our investigation was limited to alleged conduct at Belmont Racetrack, and prosecutors in other jurisdictions continue to review other allegations of misconduct by Mr. Cuomo. We thank the brave individuals who came forward and cooperated with our office during this investigation, and gratefully acknowledge our colleagues, Attorney General James and the New York State Assembly, for their diligence and collaboration.

Smith opened the investigation after details of the encounter appeared in Attorney General Letitia James' August report on sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo. The report chronicled accusations from 11 women and led to Cuomo's resignation from office, though he has attacked the findings as biased and inaccurate.

WEB EXTRARead The Report | Exhibits 1 | Exhibits 2 | Exhibits 3 | Cuomo's Response to the report

A message seeking comment was left with Cuomo's spokesperson.

According to James' report, the trooper said Cuomo ran the palm of his left hand across her abdomen, to her belly button and then to her right hip, where she kept her gun, while she held a door open for him as he left an event at Belmont Park on Sept. 23, 2019.

Cuomo was at the state-owned racetrack, home to the last leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, to break ground on a new arena for the NHL's New York Islanders. The arena, adjacent to the track's main grandstand and paddock, opened last month.

The trooper, a member of Cuomo's security detail, told James' investigators that Cuomo's conduct at the event made her feel "completely violated because to me, like that's between my chest and my privates."

James' report said that although the trooper was upset by Cuomo's unwanted touching, she did not feel she could do anything about it.

"I'm a trooper, newly assigned to the travel team. Do I want to make waves? No," she said, according to the report. "I've heard horror stories about people getting kicked off the detail or transferred over like little things. ... I had no plans to report it."

The trooper told James' investigators that what happened at Belmont Park was just one of many instances of Cuomo's "flirtatious" and "creepy" behavior toward her.

One time, in an elevator, he traced his finger from her neck to her back, she said. Another time, he asked to kiss her in the driveway outside his Mount Kisco home, she said.

"I remember just freezing, being — in the back of my head, I'm like, oh, how do I say no politely?" she told investigators.

The Nassau County investigation was limited to the encounter at Belmont Park, which is on the county's border with New York City. Authorities in other parts of the state have been looking into other allegations in James' report.

In October, the Albany County sheriff's office filed a misdemeanor groping complaint against Cuomo, but a week later the district attorney asked a judge for more time to evaluate the evidence.

The D.A. said that the sheriff's one-page criminal complaint, based on allegations from a woman who said Cuomo slid his hand up her blouse and grabbed her breast at the governor's mansion in late 2020, was "potentially defective."

At the prosecutor's request, a court delayed Cuomo's scheduled arraignment until Jan. 7.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.