New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Thursday authorized the Assembly Judiciary Committee to launch an impeachment investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the embattled governor’s alleged cover-up of nursing home deaths and sexual harassment allegations brought forth by multiple women.
“After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo,” Heastie said in a statement.
“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious. The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution,” added Heastie. “I have the utmost faith that Assemblymember Lavine and the members of the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation.”
Heastie said the probe will not interfere with New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review of the allegations against Cuomo.
In recent week, six women have levelled allegations of sexual harrasement and unwanted touching against Cuomo, sparking an independent investigation overseen by James.
Earlier Thursday, the New York Times reported that one of the allegations against Cuomo was referred referred to Albany law enforcement by a lawyer for the governor. Albany Police Department officials confirmed to the Times that is was given a report regarding an alleged incident at the Executive Mansion involving Cuomo and a female staff member.
Beth Garvey, the governor’s acting counsel, later confirmed that the Cuomo administration filed the report in accordance with state law.
“As a matter of state policy, when allegations of physical contact are made, the agency informs the complainant that they should contact their local police department,” Garvey said. “If they decline, the agency has an obligation to reach out themselves and inform the department of the allegation.”
“In this case, the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney’s information,” the official added.
The accusation was first revealed by the Times Union on Wednesday.
Cuomo denied the allegation, telling the Times-Union in a statement: “I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo has repeatedly said that he has no plans to resign.
“[James] is very good, she’s very competent, and that will be due process and then we’ll have the facts. That’s why Sen. Schumer said let the attorney general do her investigation, Sen. Gillibrand said let the attorney general do her investigation, Congressman [Hakeem] Jeffries said let the attorney general do her investigation, the White House spokesperson said let the attorney general do the investigation, because that’s democracy. So no, there is no way I resign,” Cuomo said during a Monday press conference.