NEW YORK NOW – “I’m the County Sheriff. I’m not gonna be intimidated, I’m not gonna be coerced. That would not play out well for anybody.”
That’s the position of Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, when it comes to his investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo and any potential political consequences as an elected official.
Apple confirmed to the press on Saturday that his office is investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct. The Executive Mansion, which is where the alleged groping took place with “Executive Assistant #1”, is within the jurisdiction of the Albany County Sheriff.
The press conference was light on details, but he said the complainant met with his office on Thursday, following a call on Wednesday, which is how the investigation started.
“I can tell you that Attorney Brian Premo and his client did in fact come in. She filed a formal report alleging criminal conduct against the governor. The conduct was sexual in nature. The meeting, at that point, commences the investigative process,” Apple said.
That investigation started two days after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a 168-page report, detailing allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct involving 11 women.
After Saturday’s press conference, AG James released a statement confirming her cooperation.
“We will cooperate fully with the Albany sheriff and turn over all evidence related to this complainant. Similarly, we will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, as appropriate,” her office said.
Apple said if the allegations being investigated by his office are true, they would possibly rise to the level of one or more misdemeanors.
A major factor in this particular allegation, is that the victim is anonymous. Sheriff Apple says their anonymity is likely to disappear at some point as a function of the judicial process, but for now, it’s most important to avoid re-victimizing the complainant.
“I obviously want to protect all of the victims. They’ve had a lot of stress put on them, They’ve been through a rough period of time,” Apple said.
“I think every time their faces pop up on TV, or their names are mentioned on TV or radio, It does, in fact, probably put more stressors on them.”
One of the arguments made by the Cuomo administration is that much of the motive behind investigations into various actions have been political in nature. Apple reassured the public on Saturday that this is not the case with his investigation.
“I am elected as well. I think that we have a proven record in this area, in this region, of helping people, taking care of people,” Apple said.
“I have a young lady that came in, who’s alleging that she was victimized, and we’re gonna do everything in our powers to help her.”
Apple said the investigation is in the early stages, and didn’t give a timeline for when the next development will occur.