ALBANY, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — The New York State Judiciary Committee said Thursday it will begin an impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo following several sexual harassment allegations against him.
The investigation will be lead by Chair Charles Lavine to examine allegations of misconduct against the New York Governor. The committee’s inquiry could be wide-ranging: from alleged sexual misconduct to COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes, according to committee member Tom Abinanti.
After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo.
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.Speaker Carl Heastie
Heastie said the committee’s investigation will not interfere with the attorney general’s sexual harrassment investigation.
“The legislature needs to determine for itself what the facts are,” Abinanti said. “For the people who want immediate impeachment, I think we say please be patient. The process is slow. This could be the next step.”
In New York, the Assembly is the legislative house that could move to impeach Cuomo.
A group of 59 Democrats, including 19 senators and 40 Assembly members said in a letter Thursday that it was time for Cuomo to go.
“In light of the Governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the letter said. “It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.”
Cuomo has repeatedly said he won’t resign and urged the public to await the outcome of the attorney general’s investigation.
On Thursday it was reported another unidentified aide claimed Cuomo reached under her shirt and fondled her at his official residence late last year. Cuomo said he never touched anyone inappropriately.
A lawyer for the governor said that she reported the allegation to Albany police after the woman involved declined to do so herself.
“In this case the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” Beth Garvey, the governor’s acting counsel said.
She said the state was obligated to do so under state law.
The state Assembly has 150 members. It could convene an impeachment trial against Cuomo with a simple majority vote. Until the new allegations surfaced, most of its members appeared to be leaning against trying to convene an impeachment or demanding Cuomo’s resignation until the attorney general’s investigation was complete.
The state Senate, which would join with members of the state’s top appeals court to hold an impeachment trial, has 63 members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.