The fifth and final criminal case opened against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo stemming from a state investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct has closed, the district attorney's office confirmed, seemingly ending any chances the disgraced governor might face charges in the fallout.
"After a thorough review of the available evidence and applicable law, the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office has concluded that there is not a sufficient legal basis to bring criminal charges against former-Governor Andrew Cuomo based upon the allegations of unwanted physical contact made by Virginia Limmiatis," District Attorney Gregory Oakes said Monday.
Oakes' team had been investigating claims made by Virginia Limmiatis, who alleged the governor inappropriately touched her at a 2017 conservation event at Salman River. Limmiatis was one of several women named in the attorney general's bombshell report in which independent investigators corroborated allegations the governor acted inappropriately.
In his statement, the Oswego district attorney said his decision not to proceed with criminal charges should not cast doubt on "the character or credibility of Ms. Limmiatis."
"After watching her prior testimony and talking with her, I found her to be reliable and reasonable, seemingly motivated only by an earnest desire to do the right thing, and she was plainly upset by her interaction with then Governor Cuomo as she expressed immediately to friends and family," Oakes said.
Limmiatis has been the target of Cuomo's legal team since the release of the report in August 2021, who have long demanded the attorney general revise portions of the document to include photos of him alongside Limmiatis at the 2017 event.
The former governor's attorney, Rita Glavin, has argued that the photos do not show the governor touching Limmiatis with "his right hand." Although the photos don't directly disprove any of Limmiatis' claim, one of the photos shown by Glavin appears to show the governor reaching out toward his chest with his left hand.
Limmiatis' attorneys have previously released a statement calling the governor's tactics the efforts "of a bully down and alone."
The decision by the Oswego district attorney to drop the criminal case comes after the DAs in Westchester, Nassau, Manhattan and Albany closed their own investigations. Manhattan's district attorney was looking into the Cuomo administration's of nursing home deaths, while the other investigations centered around sexual misconduct.
Cuomo appeared virtually in an Albany court earlier this month when a judge dismissed the criminal groping case after District Attorney David Soares said that he was declining to prosecute the former governor for allegedly forcibly a former aide inside the executive mansion.
"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," Albany County District Attorney David Soares said at the time.
Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi, who worked in the former governor's administration, issued another in a long line of statements slamming Attorney General Letitia James.
"As now five DAs have verified, none of the accusations in Tish James’ fraud of a report have stood up to any level of real scrutiny. This has always been a political hit job to further the Attorney General’s own ambitions, which both reeks of prosecutorial misconduct and has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars."
Oakes ended his public statement with a plea for state lawmakers to take up new legislation if "justice is to ever be obtained" for victims of sexual violence.
"This investigation makes clear what victims, their advocates, police, and prosecutors have said for years: The current sex offense statutes in New York fail to properly hold offenders accountable and fail to adequately protect victims," the DA said.