The Associated Press reports a majority of state Assembly members support beginning impeachment proceedings against Governor Andrew Cuomo if he doesn’t resign over investigative findings that he sexually harassed at least 11 women.
At least 86 of the body’s 150 members have said publicly or told The AP that they favored initiating the process of ousting the third-term Democratic governor if he doesn’t quit. It takes a simple majority to authorize an impeachment trial.
Assembly Democrats, who lead the chamber, debated virtually for hours Tuesday about whether to impeach the governor now, wait to see whether he resigns, or give the Judiciary Committee time to wrap up its wide-ranging investigation into topics from sexual misconduct to the Cuomo administration’s months-long obfuscation of the total number of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19.
At least 40 Democrats back starting impeachment proceedings if Cuomo doesn’t leave on his own.
The 150-member Assembly would need 76 votes to impeach Cuomo and send articles of impeachment to the Senate. The Assembly includes 106 Democrats, 43 Republicans and one Independent.
Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay urged Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, to convene an emergency special session to vote to impeach Cuomo.
Heastie said he wants to conclude the Assembly’s investigation as quickly as possible. Judiciary committee members Tom Abinanti and Phil Steck variously estimated the timeframe at weeks or a month.
The two Democrats said that some lawmakers want to vote for impeachment within days, but time is needed to build a strong case for a Senate trial.
If the Assembly votes to impeach, the state Senate could launch an impeachment trial in weeks. Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris told The Associated Press the chamber has been preparing for months, saying, “We’ll be ready to go if and when the impeachment articles are sent over,” he said. “It could happen very quickly.”
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At least four district attorneys offices in New York have requested additional investigative information from the state’s probe into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo.
CNN is reporting the DAs are saying they need the materials to determine whether incidents that occurred in their jurisdictions amount to criminal actions.
The investigation’s report, released Tuesday by state Attorney General Letitia James, found that Cuomo harassed 11 women, including current and former state employees, as well as women outside of state government. Investigators repeatedly described Cuomo’s conduct as “unlawful,” though a footnote in the report said that it was not reaching a conclusion as to “whether the conduct amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution.”
But shortly after the report’s findings were released, Albany County’s district attorney said his office would be requesting investigative materials obtained by James, while the offices for district attorneys in Westchester County, Nassau County and Manhattan made similar announcements Wednesday.
Cuomo has denied the investigation’s findings and has shown no willingness to resign over them. He has frequently accused the probe as being politically motivated.
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Meanwhile, a Marist poll done Tuesday night found that 59% of New Yorkers, including 52% of registered Democrats, think Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign from office in light of the results of the independent investigation which found Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women.
32% report Cuomo should serve out the rest of his term. If Cuomo does not resign, 59% of New Yorkers say the New York State Legislature should impeach him.
Marist Poll Director Dr. Lee Miringoff said “The court of public opinion believes the allegations against Governor Cuomo warrant his removal from office. If he does not resign nearly six in ten New Yorkers believe he should be impeached. Even if he survives this scandal, his reelection prospects are rock bottom with even his Democratic base deserting him.”