Brittany Commisso, who filed a criminal complaint last week against Andrew Cuomo, went public with CBS This Morning for an interview in which she detailed her allegations that the New York governor groped her.
Commisso was identified in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report on Cuomo as “executive assistant #1.” She was one of 11 accusers who claim that Cuomo sexually harassed them, leading to calls for the governor’s resignation or impeachment.
In an interview with Jericka Duncan, Commisso described two separate incidents. One occurred on Dec. 31, 2019, when she was helping the governor with his State of the State address at the governor’s mansion in Albany. She said that at the end of their work, he asked if she wanted a selfie, and, as she held the camera, he rubbed her butt. She said that she was so startled by what was happening that her hand began to shake, and she couldn’t take a good photo.
She said that she was “not only embarrassed for what was going on, I was embarrassed that a governor wanted a selfie and I couldn’t take it. I was so nervous. I remember looking at them, and when he said, ‘can I see them?’ I showed him them. And he said, ‘Oh, those aren’t – those aren’t good.'”
According to Commisso, he then said that they should sit down on a sofa to get a better shot.
“So we sat down on the couch and in the photo I have my arm wrapped around his shoulder, almost as if we were taking a picture with a buddy. And I got a clear photo sitting down. That is the one that has been blurred out that has been now released to the public.”
The next incident took place in November, 2020, she said, when she went to the governor’s mansion again.
She said that Cuomo gave her a hug in “probably the most sexually aggressive manner than any of the other hugs that he had given me.”
She said that she told him, “You’re going to get us in trouble.”
“And I thought to myself, that probably wasn’t the best thing to say. But at that time, I was so afraid that one of the mansion staff that they were going to come up and see this and think, ‘Oh, you know, is that what she comes here for?’ And that’s not what I came there for.”
Then, she said, Cuomo “shut the door so hard to the point where I thought for sure, someone downstairs must think if they heard that ‘What is going on?’ He came back to me and that’s when he put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra. I exactly remember looking down, seeing his hand, which is a large hand, thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God. This is happening.’ It happened so quick, he didn’t say anything. When I stopped it, he just pulled away and walked away.”
Cuomo has denied the accusations, and said that “to touch a woman’s breasts, who I hardly know, in the mansion with 10 staff around, with my family in the mansion, to say, ‘I don’t care who sees us.’ I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing.”
Commisso called Cuomo’s response to her allegation “disgusting.”
The governor also has claimed that the allegations against him are politically motivated, while his frequent hugs were friendly and innocent gestures. His attorney, Rita Glavin, said at a news conference on Friday, “There has been no open-minded fact finding here.”
But Commisso said that the hugs she experienced “were not hugs that he would give to his mother or his brother. These were hugs with the intention of getting some personal sexual satisfaction out of. Then there were hugs that started to be kisses on the cheek, and then there was at one point a hug and then when he went to go kiss me on the cheek, he turned his head and he kissed me on the lips.”
She said that she was afraid that if she came forward and revealed her name, “the governor, and his ‘enablers’ I like to call them, would viciously attack me, would smear my name as I had seen and heard them do before to people.”
The interview was conducted in conjunction with Brendan J. Lyons, managing editor for investigations and capitol bureau chief for the Times Union in Albany. The network has posted more of the interview on Paramount+ and CBSNews.com.
Commisso filed a complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office after the release of the attorney general’s report.
"The governor needs to be held accountable… What he did to me was a crime." pic.twitter.com/uPuZiuEKq9
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 9, 2021