New York Assembly committee to hold hearings through August on possible Cuomo impeachment

The governor is accused of sexually harassing multiple women.

August 9, 2021, 4:56 PM

If impeachment proceedings against embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were to take place, the process would likely begin in early September, according to a tentative hearing schedule set by state lawmakers.

The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee said it will hold hearings through the remainder of the month to review evidence against Cuomo, as well as hear expert testimony surrounding sexual harassment and the standards for impeachment.

"These sessions will conclude with the potential for a vote on articles of impeachment if necessary and appropriate," the committee's chairman, Charles Lavine, said Monday.

A report released by State Attorney General Letitia James last week found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former state employees. In at least one instance, the investigation determined that the governor sought to retaliate against a woman who leveled accusations against him.

Cuomo has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment.

PHOTO: Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference in New York on the latest COVID-19 facts, Aug. 8, 2021.
Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference in New York on the latest COVID-19 facts, Aug. 8, 2021.
Matthew McDermott/Polaris

Lavine said Cuomo has until Friday to submit exculpatory evidence which he promised the committee would consider.

"The governor has clearly lost the confidence of the majority members," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Monday, reiterating what he said last week in the wake of the state attorney general's report being released.

"Our goal is to bring the matter to a close with all haste," Heastie added.

The impeachment investigation includes the sexual harassment allegations and allegations the governor inappropriately used state resources to write a book, as well as further concerns raised surrounding COVID-19 and nursing homes and accusations that Cuomo provided preferential access to COVID-19 testing to friends and relatives, according to Lavine.

"Just on the nursing home question alone there are a half million pages of documentation," Lavine said in noting the volume of evidence.

On Aug. 16 and Aug. 23, outside counsel is set to update investigative findings and the Judiciary Committee members will review the evidence in a secure environment. After Aug. 23, public hearings for expert testimony on sexual assault and harassment and on the impeachment process itself are set to take place. The committee will then issue a recommendation on whether the Assembly should approve articles of impeachment.

If the governor resigns beforehand, Lavine conceded "impeachment would be moot" but said there is a procedure to establish a prohibition on Cuomo that prevents him from holding elective office in the state.

Earlier Monday, Lavine called the findings of the state attorney general's report "deeply disturbing" as he ushered the committee into executive session to discuss next steps in the impeachment investigation.

"We commend the attorney general on her work and her agreement to provide relevant materials to this committee," Lavine said. "The findings, the content, of the report are deeply disturbing."

If impeachment proceedings are initiated, it would mark the first impeachment of a New York governor in more than a century.

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