The executive assistant who accused Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of repeatedly groping her and who filed a criminal complaint against him has come forward in an interview to be aired on Monday.
Brittany Commisso acknowledged in an interview with “CBS “This Morning” and The Albany Times Union that she was the person identified as “Executive Assistant #1” in a report by the New York State attorney general, which found that the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women.
“What he did to me was a crime,” Ms. Commisso said in interview excerpts released on Sunday. “He broke the law.”
She added: “The governor needs to be held accountable.”
Ms. Commisso’s allegations that Mr. Cuomo groped her and grabbed her breast are among the most serious against him and were integral to the report from the attorney general, Letitia James.
Last week, Ms. Commisso, 32, filed a formal criminal complaint against Mr. Cuomo with the Albany County sheriff’s office.
Mr. Cuomo, 63, and his attorneys have forcefully denied the allegations, and the governor told investigators that Ms. Commisso was “flirtatious” and “outgoing.”
An attorney for Ms. Commisso did not respond to a request for comment.
In the litany of sexual harassment complaints detailed in the attorney general’s 165-page report, the account of Mr. Cuomo’s actions toward Ms. Commisso describes especially brazen behavior.
While working for Mr. Cuomo’s executive chamber, Ms. Commisso was responsible for typical administrative tasks: managing incoming and outgoing phone calls, taking dictation, drafting documents.
When Ms. Commisso was hired, a long-serving executive assistant looked her “up and down” and said the governor would “steal” her from her assigned supervisor, Ms. Commisso told the attorney general’s office.
Mr. Cuomo would routinely run his eyes over Ms. Commisso in a sexual manner, she told investigators.
Starting around November 2019, she began to assist Mr. Cuomo at the Executive Mansion, and the governor continued to take an intense interest in Ms. Commisso’s appearance, the report said.
He told her she “looked good” for her age and for being a mother, encouraged her to show “some leg,” and took issue when she wore her hair up, the attorney general’s report said.
Mr. Cuomo also took a strong interest in Ms. Commisso’s personal life — including the state of her marriage and whether she had ever cheated on her husband, the report said.
At one point, he said to her something along the lines of, “If you were single, the things I would do to you,” according to the report.
Mr. Cuomo would also pull Ms. Commisso into intimate hugs that she found uncomfortable, she said.
“I could feel him pushing my body against his and definitely making sure that he could feel my breasts up against his body,” she told investigators. “And was doing it in a way that I felt was obviously uncomfortable for me and he was maybe trying to get some sort of personal satisfaction from it.”
Mr. Cuomo told investigators that Ms. Commisso was a “hugger” and the “initiator of the hugs.” He said he went along with the hugs because he did not “want to make anyone feel awkward about anything.”
Ms. Commisso said Mr. Cuomo also kissed her repeatedly, including at least once on the lips, and rubbed her buttocks.
On Nov. 16, according to the report, one of Mr. Cuomo’s aides directed Ms. Commisso to attend to the governor at his Executive Mansion office, where she said he pulled her into a close hug.
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She stepped away and said, “You’re going to get us in trouble.”
“I don’t care,” Mr. Cuomo responded, and then slammed the door shut, at which point he slipped his hand under her shirt and grabbed her breast, she told investigators.
Fearful of retaliation, she kept the incident to herself until, on March 3, Mr. Cuomo told reporters that he had never “touched anyone inappropriately.”
Mr. Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, has tried to cast doubt on the account of the events of Nov. 16. In a news conference on Friday, Ms. Glavin sought to dismantle Ms. Commisso’s narrative by providing a detailed, alternate timeline of what happened that day.
“The documentary evidence does not support what she said,” said Ms. Glavin, who has attacked the attorney general’s report as biased.
The date the incident reportedly took place has become a source of dispute. Ms. Commisso told investigators that she did not recall exactly when Mr. Cuomo groped her, but that it was around when she was told to photograph a document. She provided a copy of the photograph to investigators that was dated Nov. 16, so investigators focused on that date.
Ms. Glavin has cited records and emails that are supposed to show that Mr. Cuomo was too busy to have been alone with Ms. Commisso on Nov. 16. Ms. Commisso’s lawyer has said that she does not remember exactly when it happened.
After Ms. Commisso filed her complaint in Albany County, Sheriff Craig Apple told reporters on Saturday that his office was considering at least one misdemeanor charge based on the report, although further investigation was needed.
He said the governor would be interviewed at some point.
Legal experts have said that Mr. Cuomo’s alleged conduct toward Ms. Commisso could be charged as forcible touching, a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in prison.
At the news conference, Mr. Apple was asked whether his use of the word “victim” to describe Ms. Commisso should be taken to mean that he believed she had been victimized.
“I think we’ve all read the attorney general’s report, we know what’s in it,” he said. “At this point I’m very comfortable and safe saying that she is in fact a victim.”
Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Sharon Otterman and Grace Ashford contributed reporting.