‘What He Did to Me Was a Crime’: Cuomo Accuser Brittany Commisso Speaks Up

“He knows the truth. I know what happened, and so does he.”
August 9, 2021, 4:17pm
CBS
CBS

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Brittany Commisso, the woman who last week filed a criminal complaint against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for groping her, is going public and pushing back against the governor’s claim that he never touched anyone inappropriately.

“It’s simple. I know the truth,” Commisso told “CBS This Morning” in an interview that aired Monday. “He knows the truth. I know what happened, and so does he.”

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Commisso was known only as “Executive Assistant #1” in the report released last week by the New York attorney general’s office, which concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women. Commisso’s allegation was one of the more serious ones, as she told investigators that the governor groped her on two occasions. Once, in December 2019, Cuomo “moved his hand to grab her butt cheek and began to rub it” while the two took a selfie together, according to the report. Then, in November 2020, Cuomo allegedly slid his hand up her blouse and grabbed her breast over her bra while the two were in his office at the Executive Mansion.

Commisso, 32, retold her account in the interview. 

“While I was taking the selfie, I became so nervous that my hands were clearly shaking and a lot of the photos that I was snapping were clearly blurry,” she said of the December 2019 incident. When Cuomo saw the photos, he suggested they sit on a couch to take a better photo. “I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I don’t think on the couch that he would have a way to do what he just did.’ So I felt safer, actually, on the couch.”

The following November, she said Cuomo gave her a “sexually aggressive” hug at the Executive Mansion. She told him, “Governor, you’re going to get us in trouble.”

“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, is that what she comes here for?’” Commisso said. “And that’s not what I came there for and that’s not who I am. And I was terrified of that.”

That’s when Cuomo shut the door to his office, came back, and cupped her breast, Commisso said. “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.”

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Commisso filed the criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office last week.

“It was the right thing to do. The governor needs to be held accountable,” Commisso told CBS. “What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.”

Cuomo has forcefully denied Commisso’s allegations. “To touch a woman’s breast, 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,” he told investigators for the New York attorney general’s office. “I would have to lose my mind to do such a thing,”

In Commisso’s interview, which was also conducted with the Albany Times Union, Commisso called that denial “disgusting.” She kept her account to herself for months, until she saw Cuomo publicly say that he had never touched anyone inappropriately. 

“Yes, you did. Yes, you have. And not only yes, but one of them is me. And that’s when I broke down,” Commisso said. She then told two people what had happened to her.

Commisso told investigators that Cuomo had also made comments about her appearance, as well as asked questions about her marital status and relationships. Per the report, Cuomo once told her something to the effect of, “If you were single, the things I would do to you.”

As part of their investigation for the attorney general, independent investigators interviewed 179 people and reviewed tens of thousands of records. As part of their 165-page report, they also found that Cuomo’s office retaliated against a different aide, Lindsey Boylan, after she came forward with her own allegation that Cuomo had sexually harassed her.