Right here is an outline of the civil lawsuits and prison investigations prone to face New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for months to come back as he returns to non-public life following his resignation on Tuesday over a sexual harassment scandal.
Has Cuomo been charged with any crimes?
No. He’s beneath prison investigation.
Prosecutors in Manhattan, Nassau County, Albany County, Westchester County and Oswego County have requested proof from an unbiased inquiry launched by New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James whereas wanting into the matter.
These native prosecutors, referred to as district attorneys, can be those to carry any prison expenses.
The report for James discovered he groped, kissed or made suggestive feedback to ladies together with authorities staff previous and current – one a state trooper – and retaliated towards at the least one girl who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Cuomo has denied wrongdoing. He mentioned he accepted “full accountability” for what he characterised as ill-conceived makes an attempt to be affectionate or humorous however mentioned he would resign in two weeks for the great of the state.
Cuomo’s lawyer Rita Glavin has mentioned James’s probe, which was civil in nature, “was performed to help a predetermined narrative” and “left materials out.”
One among Cuomo’s accusers, Brittany Commisso, final week filed a grievance with police in Albany, alleging the governor groped her breast on the Government Mansion final November.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple mentioned at a information convention that his workplace would conduct a radical investigation.
What crimes might prosecutors be contemplating?
Apple mentioned Commisso’s grievance alleging Cuomo groped her might result in misdemeanor expenses.
The 2 most relevant crimes beneath New York regulation can be “forcible touching” and “sexual abuse within the third diploma,” mentioned Julie Rendelman, a prison protection lawyer and former Brooklyn prosecutor.
Forcible touching, the extra severe of the 2 misdemeanors, can result in a most sentence of 1 12 months in jail, however Rendelman mentioned a jail sentence was “impossible” for any defendant who had not beforehand been charged with against the law.
Does Cuomo’s stature kind of prone to be charged?
Ross Garber, a lawyer who focuses on political investigations, mentioned Cuomo’s resignation might take some public strain off New York prosecutors to cost him.
“Given the number of prison probes, the divergent points, and varied jurisdictions, it’s not possible to say with certainty” whether or not Cuomo will likely be charged, Garber mentioned. “However resignation does take a little bit of oxygen out of the wildfire that has been constructing for penalties for Cuomo’s actions.”
Are there obstacles to a prison case?
In prison circumstances, the prosecution should set up guilt past an affordable doubt.
Deborah Tuerkheimer, a Northwestern College regulation professor and former prosecutor, mentioned Cuomo’s accusers could also be reluctant to place themselves by means of the emotional turmoil of a prison trial if he’s solely charged with misdemeanors.
“It is actually troublesome to testify in a prison trial,” Tuerkheimer mentioned.
Judith Olin, a College at Buffalo regulation professor and a former New York state prosecutor who specialised in sexual assault circumstances, mentioned any prosecution might face an uphill climb given the shortage of bodily proof and witnesses.
What about civil lawsuits?
A lawyer for Lindsey Boylan, a former aide who was the primary girl to accuse Cuomo publicly final December, has mentioned she plans to file a lawsuit towards Cuomo. Different accusers might comply with her lead, Rendelman mentioned.
A landmark federal regulation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits intercourse discrimination, which incorporates sexual harassment, within the office.
Cuomo accusers who invoke this regulation can be suing the state of New York – their employer – somewhat than Cuomo instantly, mentioned Ann Juliano, a Villanova College regulation professor.
Beneath New York regulation, sexual harassment consists of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature – from sexual jokes to undesirable flirtation – that creates an offensive work atmosphere, no matter intent.
Juliano mentioned Cuomo’s accusers might depend on a landmark New York regulation, championed by Cuomo in 2019, that made it simpler for sexual harassment victims to show their circumstances in court docket. Alleged victims now not have to fulfill the excessive bar of proving sexual harassment is “extreme and pervasive.”
To prevail in a civil lawsuit, Cuomo’s accusers would solely must persuade jurors that there was a higher than 50% likelihood that their allegations had been true.
What different authorized issues does Cuomo face?
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are investigating whether or not, as governor, Cuomo intentionally performed down the variety of deaths in nursing houses associated to COVID-19.
New York well being officers launched a report in July denying that their insurance policies had prompted any enhance in deaths.
James, the lawyer normal, has additionally been investigating whether or not Cuomo misused state assets to put in writing and promote a e-book he revealed final October about his management in the course of the early months of the pandemic.