Former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York will not be prosecuted in the criminal case involving allegations that he groped a former aide in the Executive Mansion in 2020, the Albany County District Attorney announced on Tuesday.
The move to drop the case marked a reprieve for Mr. Cuomo, who was expected to be arraigned in court on Friday, even as the prosecutor described the former aide, Brittany Commisso, as credible and said he was “deeply troubled by allegations like the ones at issue here.”
“While many have an opinion regarding the allegations against the former governor, the Albany County D.A.’s Office is the only one who has a burden to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” David Soares, the Albany County district attorney, said in a statement. “While we found the complainant in this case cooperative and credible, after review of all the available evidence we have concluded that we cannot meet our burden at trial.”
The Albany sheriff’s office had filed a criminal complaint in October charging Mr. Cuomo with forcible touching, a misdemeanor sex crime that carries a penalty up to one year in jail, but it had remained unclear whether Mr. Soares would pursue the case.
His decision to decline to prosecute Mr. Cuomo, a development that was first reported by the Times Union of Albany on Monday, made him the third district attorney in recent weeks to close a criminal investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s treatment of women.
Prosecutors in Westchester and Nassau counties recently announced that they would not pursue charges against Mr. Cuomo after their offices investigated separate sexual misconduct allegations against him. Those and other allegations were corroborated in a damning report by the state attorney general’s office that led Mr. Cuomo to resign in August.
The Manhattan district attorney has also closed an investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s handling of nursing home deaths toward the start of the pandemic, a lawyer for Mr. Cuomo who was briefed by prosecutors said on Monday.
Mr. Soares’s decision brings to a close an explosive case that was defined not just by its high-profile nature, but a string of missteps in the way it was handled, setting off tensions between the city’s sheriff and district attorney and leading to accusations from Mr. Cuomo’s camp that the case was politically motivated.
The complaint stemmed from allegations made by Ms. Commisso, a former executive assistant to Mr. Cuomo who said he groped her breast while they were alone in his private residence in December 2020.
“What he did to me was a crime,” Ms. Commisso told CBS This Morning and the Albany Times Union in a joint interview last August, adding, “It was not welcomed, and it was certainly not consensual.”
The criminal complaint in Albany was among the most serious threats against Mr. Cuomo, a once-powerful Democrat who rose to national prominence for his leadership during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but left office engulfed in scandal.
Mr. Cuomo, who served as governor for more than a decade, repeatedly denied Ms. Commisso’s accusation and his lawyers mounted a vigorous defense seeking to undermine her account.