Westchester District Attorney Miriam Rocah has decided not to prosecute former New York governor Andrew Cuomo for kissing two women allegedly against their will. Rocah says that credible evidence supports the women’s complaints, but they don’t meet the statutory requirements for bringing criminal charges.
In one case, a female state trooper says she was on duty in the security detail outside Cuomo’s home. She asked the governor if he needed anything. According to the trooper, Cuomo asked if he could kiss her. Fearing problems if she denied the governor’s request, she and answered: “Sure.”
The kiss, then, was consensual. I don’t see how Cuomo reasonably could be prosecuted for it.
The same trooper has alleged that on a different occasion, Cuomo ran his finger down her back, from the top of her neck down her spine to the middle of her back. But this occurred outside of Westchester County.
She also alleges unwanted touchings by Cuomo at Belmont race track. A Nassau County prosecutor concluded that this incident didn’t rise to the level of a crime.
In the second case, a female teacher says that, at a school event, Cuomo grabbed her arm, pulled her toward him and kissed her on the cheek without her consent. Even if this allegation meets the statutory requirements for bringing charges — and the district attorney says it doesn’t — it would be silly to bring a criminal prosecution over something this trivial. Surely, there are better uses of prosecutorial resources.
Cuomo has been charged with a misdemeanor in a different jurisdiction for a different bad act. He allegedly groped a woman at the Executive Mansion. Groping is more serious than a kiss on the cheek.
Come 2024, the Democrats might be in the market for a new presidential candidate other than the current vice president. They probably will be, if the standing of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris doesn’t improve.
The names people are starting to throw around in this regard include Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being mentioned though not seriously, I hope.
If not for Andrew Cuomo’s fall from grace due for serial sexual harassment, his name would tower above all of these. But as things stand, he’s reduced to trying to dodge criminal prosecution.
That’s quite a fall. It is fully deserved and not just, or even primarily, because of sexual harassment.