Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Thursday that he was authorizing the Judiciary Committee to probe the multiple allegations against the governor.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Thursday that he was authorizing the launch of an impeachment investigation against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Heastie, who has yet to join the growing number of lawmakers calling for the governor’s resignation, will allow the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee to undertake the probe, and members will have the “authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution,” according to a statement.
“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” the speaker said, adding that the investigation won’t interfere with the one being conducted by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who appointed two attorneys earlier this week to examine the misconduct claims against Cuomo.
Several women, including former Albany staffers, have accused the governor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior in recent weeks. On Wednesday, the Times Union reported that a former aide, who has not been publicly identified, told colleagues that Cuomo groped her under shirt at the Executive Mansion last year.
Cuomo denied the incident: “I have never done anything like this,” he told the Albany newspaper. During a press briefing last week, the governor acknowledged he may have “acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable” in the past, but denied ever touching anyone inappropriately. “I wasn’t elected by politicians. I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” Cuomo said in another briefing Sunday.
Under state rules, a majority of assembly members would need to vote in favor of impeachment, and a trial would be conducted by a court of state senators and judges of the court of appeals. Should Cuomo be removed or resign, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would assume his office.
Heastie’s statement did not specify on Thursday what the scope of the Judiciary Committee’s investigation would focus on. In addition to misconduct allegations, the governor is facing fire for his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak across the state’s nursing homes.