The executive assistant referred to in New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s report only as “Executive Assistant #1" has come forward with her account of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment.
Brittany Commisso, who handled administrative tasks for the governor in the executive chamber, told CBS News’s Face the Nation that she believes Cuomo’s treatment of her “was a crime.”
“He broke the law,” Commisso told the outlet in the interview, which is to be aired Monday. (The New York Times has obtained an excerpt of the conversation in advance.) “The governor needs to be held accountable.”
Commisso filed a formal criminal complaint against Cuomo last week, choosing to remain unnamed at the time. Cuomo’s lawyers used a subsequent news conference to attempt to cast doubt on Commisso’s allegations—which raise the possibility of criminal charges for the governor—claiming that key details of her story were false.
During her interviews with investigators from James’s office, Commisso said Cuomo would routinely make comments on her appearance and ask inappropriate questions about her personal life, including ones about whether she’d ever cheated on her spouse. Their interactions were rife with inappropriate touching, according to Commisso: She said he pulled her into intimate hugs— sometimes grabbing her butt while doing so—kissed her on the cheek, forehead, and once, on the lips, and, on one occasion, reached under her blouse to grab her breasts.
“I could feel him pushing my body against his and definitely making sure that he could feel my breasts up against his body,” she said of his unwanted embraces. “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.”
Commisso is one of 11 women whose accounts were corroborated by James’s investigation, almost all of whom have now spoken about their experiences publicly. For the most part, Cuomo has not denied their accusations: The governor has instead argued that his behavior was friendly and harmless—he admits only that his banter and “usual and customary way of greeting” people (hugging, kissing) could be misconstrued as something else. He maintains he saw himself as a “mentor” for some of the women who have spoken out against him.
Said Charlotte Bennett, another accuser of Cuomo’s, of these defenses: “He is trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can’t tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship.”