ALBANY, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — Lawyers helping the New York Assembly investigate whether Gov. Andrew should be impeached have received more than 200 tips and spoken with attorneys for about 70 people and four government agencies, a lawmaker overseeing the probe said Wednesday.
Speaking at a legislative hearing, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine provided his first public update in nearly a month on the progress of the investigation.
The probe is focused on whether there grounds to impeach Cuomo over four main issues: sexual harassment and groping allegations lodged against the Democrat by current and former aides, the administration’s efforts to withhold a full count of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, the governor’s use of aides to help write his book on pandemic leadership and his administration’s handling of safety concerns about the Mario Cuomo Bridge.
Lavine has said investigators are also examining whether the governor helped family members get special access to coronavirus tests last spring.
The Judiciary Committee has released few details about the ongoing investigation, launched in mid-March. The committee launched a hotline for members of the public to provide information regarding the impeachment investigation of Cuomo earlier this month.
The Legislature allowed the public to listen to the start of a Wednesday committee meeting on the investigation through an audio stream, but after Lavine gave an eight-minute overview of the investigation’s status, he moved the meeting to executive session.
State Attorney General Letitia James is separately investigating the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.
Cuomo faces multiple allegations that he made the workplace an uncomfortable place for young women with sexually suggestive remarks and behavior, including unwanted touching and a kiss. One aide claimed the governor’s aides publicly smeared her after she accused him of sexual harassment. Another said called her time in the governor’s office “toxic, retaliatory, hostile.”
He also faces an allegation that he groped a female staff member under her shirt after summoning her to the governor’s mansion in Albany late last year.
The Democratic governor has continuously denied he ever touched anyone inappropriately and has said he’s sorry if he ever made anyone uncomfortable. Cuomo urged the public to await the outcome of an investigation of his conduct by state Attorney General Letitia James.
“I was elected by the people, not legislators. I will not resign because of allegations,” Cuomo said last month.
Cuomo has said he’ll “fully cooperate” with investigators.
The claims have led to a chorus of Cuomo’s fellow Democrats demanding his resignation including both of New York’s U.S. senators and multiple representatives. More than 130 state lawmakers have said Cuomo should resign, including Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, has said Cuomo should resign if the state attorney general’s investigation confirms the sexual harassment allegations against him.
The Assembly’s probe is being assisted by a team of attorneys from the Manhattan firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP that includes Greg Andres, a former federal prosecutor who was on the team led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that investigated foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Reporting by AP’s Marina Villeneuve. The Associated Press contributed to this report.