State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The announcement comes after six accusations of sexual harassment against Cuomo and his administration’s handling of data related to COVID-19 nursing home deaths last year.
The 20 member Judiciary Committee — led by chair Charles Lavine, a Nassau County Democrat — will decide whether to proceed with an impeachment.
“After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo,” Heastie said in a press release.
“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious. The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution. I have the utmost faith that Assemblymember Lavine and the members of the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation.”
The impeachment inquiry will not interfere with the independent investigation being conducted by Attorney General Letitia James.
State Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs says the Legislature’s inquiry is now warranted.
“Faced with another serious and disturbing allegation, revealed last evening in an article in the Times Union, it has become even more imperative that all of these matters be thoroughly investigated,” Jacobs said. “With the preponderance of these allegations I agree with Speaker Heastie that now is the time for the Legislature to commence its own review of these matters as a part of its Constitutional responsibilities.”
Cuomo’s latest allegation of sexual misconduct came forward Tuesday, alleging she was inappropriately groped under her shirt while in the Governor’s Mansion late last year. The woman was a member of the Executive Chamber staff, but her identity has not been released.
A lawyer for Gov. Cuomo reported the incident to police after the unidentified woman refused to. Cuomo denies that he has touched anyone inappropriately.
Cuomo has faced bipartisan condemnation and some calls for resignation in response to his actions.
“While I welcome the decision to launch an impeachment investigation to look into alleged misconduct by Gov. Cuomo, the Assembly Committee on Judiciary must proceed with urgency, said Republican Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay. “Republicans have called for impeachment investigations for weeks. Now that Democrats have finally recognized the need, the committee’s work must move expeditiously and it must provide a deadline, details and the defined process the investigation will take.
“Andrew Cuomo no longer has the trust and credibility to serve as governor of this state. An impeachment investigation is a significant step. But, Assembly Democrats must acknowledge that time is of the essence and that time has run out on Andrew Cuomo.”