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Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images Andrew Cuomo
As Andrew Cuomo refocuses on his public image after resigning amid scandal last year — making recent appearances in which he denounces "cancel culture" and launching millions of dollars in TV ads aimed at reviving his reputation — some of his accusers say they feel only one thing for the former New York governor: pity.
Two of the women who publicly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment told Politico in new interviews that they've watched his apparent attempts at a comeback with disbelief.
"I've thought to myself, what would I ever say if I ever ran into him in person? Or if I ever had an opportunity to say something," Brittany Commisso, a former aide to Cuomo, told the outlet in a piece published Monday. "And honestly, I just have pity. It must be really sad to be him."
Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, told Politico, "I don't really care what he has to say. I don't think anyone else should."
Cuomo resigned last August following a bombshell report by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which concluded that he had "sexually harassed multiple women" and, in doing so, "violated federal and state law."
CBS THIS MORNING AND TIMES UNION; Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock From left: Brittany Commisso and Andrew Cuomo
Commisso was one of at least 11 women to accuse the former governor of sexual misconduct. While previously identified as "executive assistant #1" in James' report, Commisso went public with her story last year in an interview with The Albany Times Union and CBS This Morning.
"There started to be hugs with kisses on the cheek, and then there was at one point a hug, and then when he went to go kiss me on the cheek, he'd quickly turned his head and he kissed me on the lips," Commisso recounted then.
Cuomo has denied those and the other allegations, insisting that some of the behavior was inadvertent. The most serious claims against him, he has said repeatedly, are false.
Speaking with Politico, Commisso noted that he had resigned in the wake of the accounts — which he said had become too much of a distraction for the government — but "that's not the point."
"The point is, resignation doesn't bring accountability," she said. "It was his choice. If you or I walked up to someone, grabbed them, touched them inappropriately, we would hopefully be held accountable."
Bennett, meanwhile, came forward in an interview published with The New York Times in March 2021, alleging that Cuomo had harassed her while she was serving as an executive assistant and health policy adviser in his administration.
In her first television interview, Bennett sat down with CBS' Norah O'Donnell and discussed what led her to first think "the governor's trying to sleep with me" during a one-on-one meeting with Cuomo back in June.
"Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely," she said then.
Charlotte Bennett/Twitter Charlotte Bennett
Speaking to Politico this week, she said that while Cuomo seemed to be trying to resurrect his image, she was still struggling to piece back her own life.
"It's been over a year since I came forward and almost two since Cuomo's sexual harassment, but I'm far from recovered," Bennett said. "I'm still working to accept that I can't just go back to my old life. I'm still mourning my old life. And every transcript drop, every news article, every press conference was, and is, difficult."
In a statement to PEOPLE, Cuomo's spokesman reiterated Cuomo's complaints about the investigations against him and highlighted that several prosecutors declined to move forward with criminal cases.
The spokesman cast the probes in a malicious light but repeated Cuomo's apology for certain situations.
"This was a case of politicization and weaponization of everyday interactions and exaggerated and false claims. In the last eight months five district attorneys have all examined the allegations within the report and concluded that no laws were broken and that evidence did not hold up in a court of law, while recent revelations have shown that investigators willfully ignored clear instances of witness tampering, blackmail, and perjury as well as overwhelming exculpatory evidence and testimony that didn't fit into their narrative, to say nothing of an accuser with a history of colluding with others to make false allegations," the spokesman said.
"The Governor has repeatedly apologized if he unintentionally made anyone feel uncomfortable, but did not harass anyone and the demands that we be silenced and allow the facts to be papered over is the very definition of cancel culture. At the end of the day, the Governor — and the people who elected him statewide four times — was robbed of due process."