ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB/WSYR) — The New York State Assembly is suspending its impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Friday that the Judicial Committee will suspend its impeachment investigation Cuomo’s resignation takes effect on August 25.
This week, after numerous calls for his resignation, Cuomo announced that he will be stepping down. This follows the release of a New York Attorney General’s Office report that concluded that the Governor sexually harassed a number of women. In his place, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over later this month.
Heastie says one reason for the decision is that the impeachment inquiry was set to determine whether Cuomo should remain in office. With his abdication, such a determination would be unnecessary. Second, based on expert legal advice, Committee Chair Charles Lavine says the constitution does not authorize impeaching a former official who is no longer in office.
Nonetheless, Heastie said that the committee’s work over the last several months uncovered credible evidence in relation to allegations made against Cuomo. “This evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor’s memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads part of Heastie’s statement.
The Assembly Speaker said the evidence would have likely resulted in filing articles of impeachment. He says he asked Lavine to turn over all the evidence gathered by the committee has gathered to relevant investigatory authorities.
Heastie said this is a “tragic chapter in our state’s history” and said the government should operate in a transparent, safe, and honest manner. Take a look at the full statement from Heastie below:
“After consulting with Chair Lavine and my majority colleagues, the Assembly will suspend its impeachment investigation upon the governor’s resignation taking effect on August 25.
There are two reasons for this decision. First, the purpose of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive. Second, we have been advised by Chair Lavine – with the assistance of counsel – of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office (see attached memo).
Let me be clear – the committee’s work over the last several months, although not complete, did uncover credible evidence in relation to allegations that have been made in reference to the governor. Underscoring the depth of this investigation, this evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor’s memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This evidence – we believe – could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned.
I have asked Chair Lavine to turn over to the relevant investigatory authorities all the evidence the committee has gathered. We are well aware that the attorney general is investigating issues concerning the governor’s memoir; the Eastern District of the United States attorney has been investigating the administration’s actions concerning nursing home data; and there are active investigations by local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions – Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego – concerning incidents of sexual misconduct.
As I have said, this has been a tragic chapter in our state’s history. The people of this great state expect and deserve a government they can count on to always have their best interests in mind. Our government should always operate in a transparent, safe and honest manner. These principles have and always will be the Assembly Majority’s commitment to all New Yorkers.”Carl Heastie
New York State Senate