A former aide to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has filed a lawsuit against her, alleging that Cuomo grabbed her breast and sexually harassed and abused her, according to summons filed this week.
Brittany Commisso, one of the 11 women who proved her alleged harassment in an August 2021 report by the state attorney general, charged the former governor with “pervasive misconduct” and “persistent sexual harassment” under New York’s Adult Survivors Act. while working as his assistant, according to summonses filed Wednesday in Albany County Superior Court.
Six months after it was signed in May 2022, the state law opened a one-year window for sex crime survivors to sue their abusers even though the statute of limitations on their claims had expired.
Cuomo was one of several high-profile figures sued in the winning hours before the law expired at midnight Thursday.
The former governor has repeatedly and vehemently denied Camiso’s claims. His attorney on Friday called the case an attempted “cash grab.”
“Ms. Camiso’s claims are false, which is why the Albany district attorney dismissed the case two years ago after a thorough investigation,” Cuomo attorney Rita Clavin told CNN in a statement. “Ms. Commisso’s apparent attempt at extortion will fail. We look forward to seeing her in court.
The summons lists Cuomo, the state of New York and another former Cuomo aide as defendants and seeks damages for “substantial personal injuries and economic loss to the plaintiffs.”
Camiso was one of the women who spoke to investigators hired by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by the former governor. The report prompted Cuomo’s resignation, which he announced a week after its release on August 10, 2021.
According to the state report, Camiso told investigators that Cuomo grabbed her buttocks during a hug and during a photo op. The report also detailed an allegation previously reported by the Albany Times Union that Cuomo allegedly reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast in an incident at the governor’s mansion.
In January 2022, the Albany City Court dismissed the forcible touching complaint after the district attorney declined to pursue it. After the county sheriff’s office filed the misdemeanor charges against Cuomo, Albany District Attorney David Soares filed a letter saying he found Camiso “credible” but “impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court.”
The summons filed this week by Commisso alleges that the former governor’s conduct included “unwanted sexual advances” and “sexual comments” about her appearance and personal life. It also alleges that Cuomo excluded incidents of sexual abuse and “humiliating and degrading tasks, hugs, kisses” detailed in the 2021 state report.
It says she was subjected to “objectively unfair and abusive” conduct, believing she “must suffer to maintain her employment.”
The summons alleges that Camiso was retaliated against after rejecting Cuomo’s attempts to engage in sexual activity and later reporting the conduct.
Commisso says then-Lieutenant Governor, now Gov. Kathy Hochul, was fired from the front office and relegated to “the menial task of answering the phones” for Hochul’s office, according to the document.
Governor Hochul is not a named defendant in the suit, but is mentioned in the summons description.
Hochul’s spokesman, Avi Small, told CNN in a statement: “The claim about then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul is a mistake because he has no control over the decisions of executive chamber personnel. We can only regard this allegation as an error in the preparation of the summons.
New York state is listed as a defendant, and CNN has reached out for comment.
Meanwhile, Politics Cuomo — citing eight people who have spoken to him or his inner circle — said this week that Cuomo was assessing how viable a mayoral bid would be amid the pending FBI investigation into New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Money, favors and possible foreign influence.
News of Cuomo’s political ambitions surfaced in a court document filed under the same Adult Survivors Act before Adams was charged with sexual assault in 1993.
Adams has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations and says he has no recollection of meeting the woman.
In a statement to CNN, Camiso said: “It disgusts me that Andrew Cuomo is even considering running for public office after mayor. [Eric] Adams was sexually harassed.
CNN’s Michelle Watson contributed to this report.