State Watch

Cuomo impeachment inquiry nearing completion, chairman says

The chairman of the New York state committee conducting an impeachment inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Thursday the panel's probe is almost finished.

"We write to inform you that the Committee's investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client," lawyers leading the investigation told Cuomo's counsel, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D).

The law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell invited Cuomo's team to "provide any additional evidence or written submissions that you would like the Committee to consider before its work concludes." The firm said it will accept materials until Aug. 13.

The signal that the investigation is nearing completion comes days after state Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a bombshell report that said Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, some of whom worked in his office, and violated other state and federal laws.

The investigation also found that Cuomo and his aides retaliated against a former employee who came forward with her allegations.

Cuomo has refused to resign in light of the report's findings, despite calls for him to step down from prominent Democratic politicians, including President Biden and the entire New York congressional delegation.

The governor has maintained that he never treated anyone unfairly.

All eyes are now on the New York State Assembly, which began an impeachment inquiry in March over the claims.

The Judiciary Committee is also looking into allegations related to the Cuomo administration's handling of data pertaining to coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.

Lavine last month announced that the panel would start issuing subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry.

If Cuomo is ultimately impeached it would mark only the second time in history that a New York governor is ousted from the top job. The only other time such a move has occurred was in 1913 when Gov. William Sulzer (D) was impeached and removed after angering the Tammany Hall boss Charles F. Murphy, Politico reported.

The move would deal a large blow to Cuomo, who comes from a prominent New York political family and has served as governor since 2011. His father, Mario Cuomo, served three terms as chief of the Empire State.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that a majority of the New York State Assembly supports beginning the process of impeaching Cuomo if he continues to refuse to resign.

Of the 150 members in the legislative body, at least 86 told the news wire or have publicly said they support starting the process if the governor does not step down.

An impeachment trial in the state can be authorized if a majority of lawmakers back the move. Seventy-six votes, however, are needed from the Assembly to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Four New York district attorneys are also looking into the allegations outlined in James's report.

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