Who is Brittany Commisso? Aide who accused Andrew Cuomo of groping makes her charges public
'He made sure that it was either at the mansion or, if it was at the Capitol, that no one was around' Cuomo's former executive assistant claimed
Warning: Triggering content
Andrew Cuomo's accusers are cracking the whip on the governor after Attorney General Letitia James-led investigation found he sexually harassed multiple women. The reports mentioned a former aide's account who alleged Cuomo reached under her blouse and grabbed her breast. A selfie of the governor with the woman which was said to be taken just moments after he allegedly violated the woman made it to the Internet. The woman's face was blurred in the photo to protect her identity, however, she went public with the accusations in a recent interview asking for the governor to be held "accountable."
The sexual harassment accusations and allegations against Cuomo started earlier this year and several women came forward with their stories. One of them was Charlotte Bennett, who claimed the governor shot questions at her related to her sex life and interested in older men. She had resigned from his office in November 2020 and alleged the harassment started in spring last year. After the report was released, calls for Cuomo to resign came in from all quarters but it's unlikely for him to step down anytime soon.
“My job is not about me, my job is about you,” Cuomo said during a video statement he made online after the report was released on August 3. “What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you. I will not be distracted from that job.” Cuomo also addressed the accusation of him groping an ex-aide by reaching under her blouse and said, "That is just not who I am. That's not who I have ever been." Cuomo said he would welcome a review of the episode by a judge and jury.
Who is Brittany Commisso?
Brittany Commisso has identified herself as "executive assistant #1" from James' report. Commisso worked for Cuomo starting 2019 and her estranged husband and family are Democrats who are involved in public in the Albany area. Commisso was hired by the Executive Chamber as a $62,000-a year administrative assistant in 2019. Before that, she worked as a confidential stenographer for the Department of Transportation, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy's SeeThroughNY website.
Commisso's husband is Frank Commisso Jr. The 37-year-old is a former Common Council member from Albany who lost a 2017 mayoral campaign. The soon-to-be-divorced couple has a daughter who is around 6 years old. According to online records, they are in the midst of their divorce proceedings and their next scheduled court date in Albany Supreme Court is on August 14.
What did Brittany Commisso say about Cuomo in the past?
James's report said Commisso “repeatedly testified that she felt she had to tolerate the Governor’s physical advances and suggestive comments because she feared the repercussions if she did not.” She also “testified that she needed the income (including the overtime pay received from working on weekends), particularly as she was going through a divorce and was focused on not risking losing her job.” Commisso first spoke about the groping incident with the Times Union back in April as an unidentified woman.
Commisso said the incident happened after she was summoned to the Executive mansion on the pretext of helping Cuomo with his cellphone. After entering the office on the second floor, she said Cuomo sprung up on her from behind and aggressively sexually embraced her and "that wasn't just a hug." She added, "He went for it and I kind of like was, ‘Oh, the door is right there.' I didn’t know what else to say. … It was pretty much like ‘What are you doing?’ That’s when he slammed the door. He said, ‘I don’t care.’” Commisso said the sound of him slamming the door was loud enough for his staff to hear but that didn't stop him from what he did next.
“He came right back and he pulled me close and all I remember is seeing his hand, his big hand. I remember looking down like, ‘Holy sh–.’” She said Cuomo then reached under her blouse and groped her breasts over her bra. “I was just so confused and so taken aback by it … He never said anything, which was odd,” she said. Commisso added he tried to coax her into a relationship over the past two years through inappropriate behavior, including tight hugs and kisses on her cheek. “It was never in front of anybody,” she said.
“He made sure that it was either at the mansion or, if it was at the Capitol, that no one was around.”
Commisso's interview will be aired on August 9 on 'CBS This Morning' where she said she filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo last week because "it was the right thing to do." She said, "The governor needs to be held accountable. What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law," in a teased clip.
CBS THIS MORNING EXCLUSIVE: The aide who accused NY Gov. Cuomo of groping her speaks publicly for the first time: "What he did to me was a crime," Brittany Commisso tells @CBSThisMorning & @timesunion. "He broke the law." Watch Monday at 7a, only on CBS. https://t.co/W9SGPNSf1S pic.twitter.com/kRulD0ViUD— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 8, 2021
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or would like to report a case, the DOD Safe Helpline is a crisis support service designed to provide sexual assault services for survivors, their loved ones, and other members of the DOD community should be of help. Call hotline: 1 (877) 995 – 5247. If you aren’t sure which helpline is best, or if you have concerns in more than one area, contact VictimConnect Resource Center by phone or text 1-855-4VICTIM (855-484-2846) or chat online.