NYS Assembly suspends Cuomo impeachment investigation

Cuomo Under Fire

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The New York State Assembly is suspending its impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

This week, after numerous calls for his resignation, Cuomo announced that he will be stepping down. This follows the release of a New York Attorney General’s Office report that concluded that the Governor sexually harassed a number of women.

MORE | NY AG’s office says Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed several female employees

In his place, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over later this month.

Here is the statement released by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie:

“After consulting with Chair Lavine and my majority colleagues, the Assembly will suspend its impeachment investigation upon the governor’s resignation taking effect on August 25.

There are two reasons for this decision. First, the purpose of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive. Second, we have been advised by Chair Lavine – with the assistance of counsel – of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office (see attached memo).

Let me be clear – the committee’s work over the last several months, although not complete, did uncover credible evidence in relation to allegations that have been made in reference to the governor. Underscoring the depth of this investigation, this evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor’s memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This evidence – we believe – could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned.

I have asked Chair Lavine to turn over to the relevant investigatory authorities all the evidence the committee has gathered. We are well aware that the attorney general is investigating issues concerning the governor’s memoir; the Eastern District of the United States attorney has been investigating the administration’s actions concerning nursing home data; and there are active investigations by local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions – Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego – concerning incidents of sexual misconduct.

As I have said, this has been a tragic chapter in our state’s history. The people of this great state expect and deserve a government they can count on to always have their best interests in mind. Our government should always operate in a transparent, safe and honest manner. These principles have and always will be the Assembly Majority’s commitment to all New Yorkers.”

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D)

New York State Republican leader Rob Ortt says the suspension of the impeachment investigation “reeks of a shady deal.” Here’s his full statement:

“The decision from Assembly Democrats to suspend the impeachment investigation reeks of a shady deal to protect Andrew Cuomo. At any point in the last six months, Democrats could have impeached our now disgraced Governor – but that would’ve required courage. Instead, they stalled and bought Andrew Cuomo all the time in the world, while they wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on their sham investigation. Resignation is not accountability. The Democrats not only failed in their constitutional responsibilities – they failed the Governor’s countless victims in nursing homes, brave women who came forward to tell their stories, and those who believe in honest and transparent government.”

NYS Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt (R)

Assemblymember Monica Wallace says she “strongly disagrees” with the decision to suspend the impeachment investigation into Governor Cuomo.

“I strongly disagree with the decision to suspend the impeachment investigation. We have been
involved in this investigation for several months. It has been a thorough investigation where
dozens of witnesses have been interviewed and thousands of pages of information have been
turned over. We have an obligation to the public and to the witnesses who came forward to finish
our work and to disclose our findings.

“That said, I do support the decision to turn over the evidence we have gathered thus far to the
Attorney General and other investigatory authorities. As noted, our work is incomplete, but
credible evidence concerning some of the allegations has been found and deserves further
investigation by those who have authority to pursue remedies beyond removal from office.”

NYS Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D)

Assemblymember Karen McMahon said in part, “Based on the Constitution and case law of New York, it has been determined that the Judiciary Committee lacks the authority to continue the impeachment proceedings in light of the Governor’s imminent resignation.” Full statement below:

“The Assembly Judiciary Committee was charged with conducting an investigation and rendering a determination whether Governor Cuomo was fit to remain in office. Based on the Constitution and case law of New York, it has been determined that the Judiciary Committee lacks the authority to continue the impeachment proceedings in light of the Governor’s imminent resignation. The committee’s investigation yielded important information regarding the Governor’s alleged sexual harassment, use of state resources in writing his memoir, and manipulation of nursing home data. That material will now be turned over to the enforcement agencies that are continuing to investigate the Governor’s conduct. In addition to sharing this information with other investigating authorities, it is my hope that the Judiciary Committee will share our findings with the public and issue our own report.”

NYS Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D)

Cuomo Under Fire

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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