Assembly to ‘soon consider’ impeachment of Cuomo

Cuomo Under Fire

Judiciary Committee tells Cuomo to submit remaining evidence before investigation ends

FILE – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York’s Yankee Stadium, Monday, July 26, 2021. An investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found that he sexually assaulted multiple current and former state government employees. State Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings Tuesday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB/AP) — The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee says its probe into impeaching Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “nearing completion.” It is looking for more information from Cuomo’s counsel, sending a letter inviting them to promptly submit any more evidence worth considering before the investigation concludes.

The governor had no public events planned Thursday and has not made himself available to reporters since the report’s release Tuesday. Committee Chair Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) shared a message from independent committee counsel Davis Polk & Wardwell:

“We write to inform you that the Committee’s investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client. Accordingly, we invite you to provide any additional evidence or written submissions that you would like the Committee to consider before its work concludes. To the extent that you wish to share any such materials with the Committee, please do so by no later than 5 p.m. on August 13.”

Lavine says counsel for the Judiciary Committee previously asked for relevant documents, and that it “continues to expect full compliance from the Governor.” The committee is set to meet Monday morning.

Since March, the Judiciary Committee has been investigating whether there are grounds to impeach the Democratic governor over sexual harassment allegations, misleading the public about COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes, and using state resources and staff for his $5 million book deal.

An independent investigation released earlier this week that was overseen by Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, and that his administration retaliated against at least one of them for going public with her allegations.

One of Cuomo’s accusers said he groped her breast. Others have said he gave them unwanted kisses or touched parts of their bodies in ways that made them uncomfortable.

Cuomo has denied making any inappropriate sexual advances and insists the findings don’t reflect the facts. He’s resisted numerous calls for his resignation from most of New York’s top Democrats and from President Joe Biden.

District attorneys in Manhattan, suburban Westchester, Oswego, and Nassau counties and the state capital of Albany said they asked for investigative materials from the inquiry to see if any of the allegations could result in criminal charges.

Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes said that he will begin investigating an incident involving a woman who testified that Cuomo ran two fingers across her chest and grazed the area between her shoulder and breasts at an upstate conservation event in May 2017.

Nearly 60%—at least 89—of the Assembly’s 150 members said they would impeach Cuomo if he doesn’t resign, according to a tally by The Associated Press based on interviews and public statements. That’s more than the simple majority needed for an impeachment vote.

Assemblymember Sarah Clark, a Democrat from Rochester, said colleagues who were once hesitant to call for Cuomo to leave office are now all calling for his resignation or impeachment. “There are not that many more questions in anyone’s mind that he has truly broken state laws, and the state sexual harassment laws he signed into law,” Clark said.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the Assembly’s judiciary committee will first wrap up its probe “as quickly as possible” before the chamber votes on articles of impeachment. But it’s far from clear how long that will take. Several judiciary committee members estimate weeks or even a month.

Clark has asked legislative leaders whether the Assembly could submit articles of impeachment on harassment first and add more findings later. But committee member Tom Abinanti, a Democrat, said he supports waiting to end the probe and drawing up comprehensive articles that could hold up to legal scrutiny.

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