New York county prosecutor casts doubt on sex offense charge against Cuomo -Breaking
(Reuters) – The New York County Prosecutor asked a judge Friday to postpone for two months Andrew Cuomo’s arraignment on a misdemeanor sex crime charge. He claimed that a local sheriff might have rushed to file the complaint, which could have hampered the process.
Cuomo was in his third term and resigned August after an official five-month investigation revealed that he had sexually harassed 11 females.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple (NASDAQ) brought a “forcible touch” case against Cuomo last week based on a woman’s claim that Cuomo had raped her at the Executive Mansion, the New York capital.
Cuomo is charged with “potentially defective” according to Albany County District attorney David Soares in a Thursday letter. The judge did not receive a signed statement from the accuser.
Soares asked Albany City Court judge Holly Trexler for a delay in Cuomo’s Nov. 17 arraignment for 60 days. This would allow Soares’ office to complete the review of the case, and potentially avoid dismissal. Cuomo’s attorney supported this request. The judge scheduled Cuomo’s arraignment on Jan. 7 at the Albany City Court, a spokesperson said.
Soares wrote in his letter saying that Cuomo was under investigation by his office for many months before the sheriff released a criminal file.
We were involved in that investigation, when the Sheriff unintentionally and inexplicably filed an injunction in this Court. Unfortunately the filings is this matter are potentially defective in that the police-officer-complainant failed to include a sworn statement by the victim such that the (state) could proceed with a prosecution,” the Soares letter said.
Soares said that his office is still reviewing the hundreds of hours worth of audiotape testimony as well as the volumes of documents from the five-month investigation, which was carried out by independent attorneys under Tish James’ direction.
Reuters asked Sheriff Apple for comments but he didn’t immediately reply. He stated that his office follows proper procedures in comments to the Albany Times Union.
Apple stated that sworn testimony was included and that the protocols and policies set forth to interview victims for sex crimes were followed.
Apple regretted previously that Soares, and others, were surprised at his charge. He stated his office had filed the paperwork for review. They intended to speak with prosecutors about whether or not a criminal warrant of arrest would be issued.
He said that the process was much faster than anticipated and that the information had been leaked to the media.
Apple rejected Cuomo’s claims of political motives and said that his office conducted an “exhaustive” investigation.
Cuomo has maintained his innocence and said that he only resigned to prevent the state from the chaos that would ensue from his attempts to defend the charges.
He could be sentenced to up to one year imprisonment if he is convicted of the misdemeanor.
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