Andrew Cuomo accuser suggests his allies tried to meddle in divorce
Brittany Commisso was one of those women who accused ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo was accused of sexual misconduct. Investigators were told by Brittany Commisso that her ex-Gov’s close friends tried to interfere in her divorce proceedings to try to discredit her.
Commisso — whose groping allegation led to a misdemeanor criminal complaint being filed against the former governor last month — implied that her estranged husband may have been manipulated by Cuomo insiders into erroneously believing she and Cuomo had a consensual affair.
The 33-year-old made the comments in a May 17 deposition, telling outside lawyers probing the allegations against Cuomo that one of his aides was prying into her personal life in a possible attempt to get her husband to do the governor’s “dirty work” and claim adultery in their divorce.
The mom of one, who began working in the Executive Chamber in 2019, recalled hearing rumors that Cuomo “was saying we were having an affair and that was going to be his defense.”
She suggested that should her husband file court papers alleging adultery, “that would help the governor and I think that is absolutely disgusting.”
Frank Commisso Jr. was her husband and suggested that he spoke to Cuomo in taped conversation Commisso had with him. The recording included discussion of the fake affair. A transcript of the interview was released Wednesday.
On the recording her husband, who filed for divorce in January, implied that “he knows that we had an affair,” Commisso said.
He then said ” ‘And I told them I wasn’t going to do that scumbag Cuomo’s dirty work,’” she recalled. “And he said twice ‘I told them and they know. I told them.’”
However, Frank retracted when she asked him to verify that the individuals he was talking to were Cuomo-related.
“Where I said, ‘are you saying that you’re been speaking with the Cuomo people’ and I think he catches himself and immediately says, ‘I never said that. I never said that,’” Brittany recalled.
But she claimed that Frank, a former Albany Common Council member who works for the New York State and Local Retirement System, then tried to use the affair claim as a way to get out of paying child support for their daughter — allegedly threatening to amend his no-fault divorce filing to one saying she had been unfaithful.
“He has asked if I wanted him to sign a nondisclosure agreement and that was going to, quote unquote, cost me in our marital situation. Because he refused to pay me child support,” Brittany testified.
“Where this non-disclosure agreement comes from, that is not a wording that he would use,” she continued. “I could only assume that is coming from Cuomo’s attorneys or his people.”
“While this is all going on these rumors are going around and being told to me,” she said, “and now I’m learning that they were possibly trying to work with my ex-husband to try to get him to, like he said, do his dirty work.”
The governor’s special counsel Beth Garvey had also been asking around about her relationship status, Brittany told investigators.
“I feel as though that Beth Garvey was asking about my relationship status to see if that was a route they could take to try to meddle in my divorce,” she testified.
The proceedings for divorce are continuing, with an Albany court trial scheduled for March 16, 2022.
Gerald Leary, divorce attorney for Frank Commisso Jr., said, “Mr. Commisso, as far as I know, has had no communication with anyone in the executive chamber or any allies of governor Cuomo.”
Commisso Jr. has not responded to a request. Brittany Commisso was represented by Brian Premo. He did not respond.
“It’s clear based on these transcripts that these two people were attempting to use the governor as a pawn for leverage in their messy divorce,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi. “As the governor testified, that divorce caused Ms. Commisso to ask for more money and job protections which were not immediately granted and was a source of consternation for Ms. Commisso, but beyond that there was no other involvement or insight into their personal situation.”
Cuomo meanwhile acknowledged in his own deposition to investigators given July 17 that longtime Albany County Legislator Frank Commisso, the father of Frank Commisso Jr., “is a political associate of mine.”
“And my understanding is that’s how she got her job,” he said.
Rita Glavin, Cuomo’s lawyer, in a letter last month demanding that Albany Sheriff Craig Apple, preserve all records in the criminal probe, asked that any communications involving Commisso and his son be retained.
Melissa Klein also reports