New York Assembly to suspend Cuomo impeachment probe after resignation

New York Assembly to suspend Cuomo impeachment probe after resignation
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The New York State Assembly is suspending its impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoWill media portrayals of Rittenhouse lead to another day in court? NY Assembly report corroborates Cuomo harassment claims The real 'threat to democracy'? Pols who polarize us with their opinions MORE (D) after he announced on Tuesday that he will resign over allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. 

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said in a statement that he believes the Judiciary Committee’s investigation would have resulted in articles of impeachment after uncovering evidence to support the allegations but that the governor’s resignation, set to take effect on Aug. 25, made the inquiry moot. 

“There are two reasons for this decision. First, the purpose of the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive,” he said. “Second, we have been advised by [Judiciary Committee] Chair [Charles] Lavine ... of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office.”

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“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,” he added. 

Heastie said he asked Lavine to hand over evidence the committee had gathered to “the relevant investigative authorities.”

The announcement follows speculation over whether the chamber would continue with its investigation after Cuomo announced that he would depart office. His resignation came after a report released by state Attorney General Letitia James accused him of sexually harassing at least 11 women, including former and current aides and at least one state trooper on his protective detail.

The report led to an avalanche of calls for Cuomo’s resignation, and Heastie said at the time that the Assembly would ramp up its impeachment investigation, which was launched in March after several women both publicly and anonymously accused Cuomo of harassment.

The investigation was also looking into the revelation that Cuomo’s administration had intentionally undercounted the number of deaths in nursing homes from COVID-19 and the misuse of state resources for a memoir Cuomo was writing.

Heastie said the evidence uncovered during the inquiry backed up the nursing home and memoir allegations in addition to the sexual harassment accusations.

Until Friday, lawmakers in Albany had still expressed willingness to move forward with the impeachment proceedings.

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) told Hill.TV on Thursday that "the public deserves the truth" about the nursing home scandal.

"It will be a disservice to the taxpayers and the public because we already spent so much time, money and research ... to do the work," Kim said.

“It’s about accountability,” Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D) told The New York Times, noting that an ultimate conviction could prevent Cuomo from holding public office in the state in the future. “It’s really important that we don’t allow him to continue his abuse elsewhere. 

Lt. Gov. Kathy HochulKathy HochulOversight panel eyes excessive bail, jail overcrowding in New York City NY mogul with ties to lt. gov. faces campaign fraud charges Williams launches New York gubernatorial bid MORE (D) will take over as New York’s first female governor later this month once Cuomo officially leaves office.

Despite the impeachment inquiry’s end, Cuomo is not out of the woods yet as at least five local prosecutors are conducting criminal investigations into his alleged conduct.