Cuomo impeachment inquiry: How a trial would unfold

New York's AG found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could face removal from office after state Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the results of a four-month probe that determined the governor had sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former state employees.

New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had already authorized the Assembly's Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment probe in March after numerous woman came forward with accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct against the governor.

On Tuesday, after the release of the attorney general's report, Heastie said in a statement that it was clear "the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office."

"Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible," Heastie said.

Cuomo, who has denied all sexual misconduct, said following the release of the report, "I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."

Here's how an impeachment trial would unfold:

Once the investigation is complete, and if the Judiciary Committee determines that impeachment is warranted, the committee could release a report or draft articles of impeachment to the Assembly, according to Ross Garber, an impeachment lawyer and professor at Tulane University School of Law.

According to the New York constitution, the 150-member state Assembly has the power to impeach officials with a simple majority vote.

Currently, the Assembly is composed of 106 Democrats, 43 Republicans and one independent.

If a majority vote occurs, it will charge Cuomo with impeachment, but will not officially oust him from office.

Afterward, the case would go to an impeachment trial.

New York state's system differs from the federal process in that the charge would sideline Cuomo immediately, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would become acting governor until the end of his trial.

The trial would be conducted by the 63-member state Senate and the seven judges on the Court of Appeals -- New York's highest court -- per the state's constitution.

However, neither the Senate majority leader, Andrew Stewart-Cousins, nor Hochul can participate in the trial.

ABC chief legal analyst Dan Abrams said the impeachment charge would itself be damaging to the governor's career, even if he's acquitted.

"There are real, immediate ramifications if he's impeached just by the Assembly, even if he's not convicted by the Senate," Abrams said. "The allegations in and of themselves are a serious stain."

The Senate is currently composed of 43 Democrats and 20 Republicans. All the judges on the Court of Appeals were nominated by Cuomo.

The trial requires a two-thirds majority vote to convict. With 69 people on the impeachment court, that amounts to 46 votes to convict.

If convicted, Cuomo can be officially removed from office. Under the state's constitution, he can also be barred from holding any other public office in New York during the same trial.

The state constitution says that punishment shall not extend past the "removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any public office of honor."

"It is very rare to impeach a governor, very rare," Garber told ABC News. "In all of U.S. history, only 16 governors have been impeached and only eight of those where convicted and removed from office."

In the history of New York, only one other governor has been impeached. Gov. William Sulzer was removed from office in 1913 for campaign finance fraud and perjury.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down from office in 2008 after allegations that he used the services of a high-priced prostitution ring. He and Sulzer were both Democrats -- as is Cuomo.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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