ALBANY, NY (WIVB) — One day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he will step down from office, even many of the lawmakers who had called for his resignation are saying it’s time to end the impeachment proceedings against him.
“If the Governor’s resigning, I’m not certain the impeachment investigation’s really necessary,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. He tends to agree with the Governor’s contention that continuing with the impeachment proceedings now would be a time-consuming, costly distraction for lawmakers.
But that’s not the way Assemblyman Michael Montesano sees it. He’s the ranking Republican on the Assembly Judiciary Committee which has spent the past five months investigating the sexual assault claims, nursing home deaths, and a book deal and was weeks away from presenting to the full Assembly. “We want people eventually to see and hear what we had amassed so they understand that you know money’s been spent but it’s been spent for a good reason and here’s the result.”
Montesano said proceeding with an impeachment conviction could not only prevent the governor from running again but also take away his indemnification so that taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for whatever lawsuits result from the sexual assaults.
Buffalo attorney Chris Bopst has written two books on the NY State Constitution and he has this prediction. “I don’t think we’re gonna see a trial. I don’t think we’re gonna see that. I think the Democratic Party has no desire to drag a Democratic governor through an impeachment process after he’s resigned.” Bopst also says there is so much ambiguity in the constitutional language that it’s not even clear if lawmakers have the power to impeach a governor after he has resigned.
Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee are scheduled to meet on Monday morning to discuss whether and how to proceed.
George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.