Attorney General drops bombshell, but leaves Cuomo’s fate up to lawmakers

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(WIVB) – Attorney general Letitia James’ 165-page report accuses Governor Cuomo of breaking state and federal laws – but she did not file criminal charges against the governor.

The AG seems to be leaving that up to others – likely, state lawmakers.

State lawmakers launched an impeachment probe earlier this year, spurred by the harassment claims, a nursing home scandal, and Governor Cuomo’s $5 million book deal.

Albany lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle, including those on the impeachment panel, are now calling for Gov. Cuomo to step down.

The state assembly’s judiciary committee is conducting the impeachment probe. Western New York has four lawmakers on that panel.

Amherst Assemblymember Karen McMahon issued the following statement:

“This is a truly sad day for the people of New York State. The details of Attorney General James’ report on the claims of sexual harassment against Governor Cuomo are deeply troubling. I reiterate my earlier statement calling on the Governor to step aside and allow Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to act in his stead, pending the conclusion of the Assembly impeachment investigation and any impeachment proceedings. I will continue to work closely with my colleagues on the Assembly Judiciary Committee as we analyze this report and any other evidence relating to the investigation.”

Fellow Democratic Assemblywoman Monica Wallace released a statement saying “The attorney general’s report paints a deeply disturbing picture of toxic and illegal behavior by the governor. Given the gravity of the allegations, I reiterate my call for the governor to immediately step down.”

The chairman of the judiciary committee, Charles Lavine, who is leading the impeachment investigation went even further.

“The findings are extraordinarily disturbing,” Lavine said. “The details provided by the victims are repugnant.”

The state senate’s top Republican, Rob Ortt of Lockport, is calling for Governor Cuomo’s immediate impeachment.

“People of new york and these women deserve and demand action,” Sen. Ortt said. “That is what we are calling on – the New York State Assembly to move forward those articles of impeachment, bring it to trial in the senate, and our conference will come back, and is ready to come back immediately.”

Buffalo-based lobbyist Jack O’Donnell, the managing partner of O’Donnell and Associates says there are other accusations the impeachment panel is looking at.

“The judiciary committee was investigating a few other things – possible violations of the public officers law, Mario Cuomo Bridge downstate,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell literally wrote the book on New York’s only other impeachment back in 1913 when then-Governor William Sulzer was removed from office, and he believes these allegations are going to be hard for Governor Cuomo to overcome.

The assembly’s judiciary committee is set to meet next Monday to lay out their next step in the impeachment probe.

Even though the governor says he will not step down, the assembly’s democratic conference declared Governor Cuomo “can longer remain in office.”

An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that Assemblymember McMahon did not comment on the AG’s report. We have since updated the article with her full statement.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.


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