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Executive assistant files criminal complaint against Cuomo

The staffer told investigators Cuomo reached under her blouse and groped her, a charge he denies.

An executive assistant to Andrew Cuomo who previously alleged he reached under her blouse and groped her has filed a criminal complaint against the embattled New York governor.

The woman, identified as "Executive Assistant #1" in state Attorney General Letitia James' blistering report that alleged multiple instances of sexual harassment by the three-term Democratic governor, filed the complaint Thursday with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, a spokesperson for the sheriff told NBC News.

Brian Premo, an attorney for the assistant, said his client met with a sheriff's investigator and discussed the allegations in the AG's report, and was told the sheriff's office would coordinate with the district attorney's office moving forward.

The content of the complaint was not made public. Cuomo has not been charged with any crimes.

The November 2020 incident, which the James report said took place at the governor's mansion in Albany, was previously being probed by the Albany County district attorney. Cuomo has denied the incident happened and vehemently insisted he did nothing wrong, disputing all of the allegations in the report.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi pointed to a document the governor's office released refuting the James report, which called the assistant's account "inconceivable."

"It would be a pure act of insanity for the Governor — who is 63 years old and lives his life under a microscope — to grab an employee’s breast in the middle of the workday at his Mansion Office. This simply did not happen," the Cuomo document states.

In a Friday afternoon press conference marred by technical difficulties, Rita Glavin, an attorney for the governor, also pushed back at James' investigation of the incident. She said James' investigators ignored statements the assistant made to the Albany Times Union that Glavin described as contradictory.

"This was one-sided," Glavin said of the report.

A spokesman for James, Fabien Levy, said, the assistant's account and those of the other women in the report "have been corroborated by a mountain of evidence."

"To attack this investigation and attempt to undermine and politicize this process takes away from the bravery displayed by these women," Levy said.

The James report painted the alleged groping incident as "a pattern of inappropriate conduct" with the assistant that began in late 2019.

"That pattern of conduct included: (1) close and intimate hugs; (2) kisses on the cheeks, forehead, and at least one kiss on the lips; (3) touching and grabbing of Executive Assistant #1’s butt during hugs and, on one occasion, while taking selfies with him; and (4) comments and jokes by the Governor about Executive Assistant #1’s personal life and relationships," the report said, and culminated in the incident at the governor's mansion, where she said she'd been summoned by Cuomo.

The report said the assistant kept quiet about the incident for three months and planned to take it “to the grave” until her colleagues saw her get emotional "while watching the Governor state, at a press conference on March 3, 2021, that he had never 'touched anyone inappropriately.'"

Albany County District Attorney David Soares' office had been investigating those claims and others but told NBC News' Lester Holt on Tuesday that they'd temporarily suspended their probe while James conducted her investigation, and asked her to forward her evidence to him after the report was finished. He also urged any victims to come forward.

"A formal complaint is necessary. We have made overtures and efforts to make contact at least with a few of them. That hasn't happened and as you know, Lester the, these cases are made, you know with cooperation from our victims," Soares said then.

In addition to Soares' office, the Westchester and Manhattan district attorney offices have reached out to the Attorney General about incidents in the James report that are alleged to have occurred in their jurisdictions.

The 165-page report alleged Cuomo had violated state and federal law by sexually harassing 11 women, including 9 state employees. One of those employees was a state trooper on his protective detail, who told investigators Cuomo made numerous inappropriate remarks and touched her inappropriately, once running his hand across her stomach, from her belly button to her right hip, while she held a door open for him, and on another occasion, ran his finger down her back.

Glavin said that Cuomo, who denied the allegations to investigators, would address those claims publicly soon, but pushed back against what she described as the report's insinuation that he'd asked for her to be placed on his detail because he liked the way she looked after crossing paths with her at an event.

Glavin said that wasn't the case. "He liked how she maintained eye contact and was assertive with him," she said, adding he also wanted to add "diversity" to his security team.

CORRECTION (Aug. 9, 2021: 3:56 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the employment status of the woman identified as “Executive Assistant #1” in the New York attorney general’s report into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She is a current aide in the governor’s executive chamber, not a former aide.

Tom Winter contributed.