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NY Democrats Restart Cuomo Impeachment Inquiry After Criticism

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 16, 2021

Topline

The New York State Assembly will finish its impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), lawmakers said Monday, reversing course on a controversial decision to suspend the probe after the embattled governor announced he would step down. 

Key Facts

The investigation will be concluded and a report will be released with its findings, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine, both Democrats, said in a statement.

The lawmakers also said they will take “all appropriate steps” to ensure their probe, which is being handled by an outside law firm, “does not interfere” with the other ongoing investigations into Cuomo by state and federal prosecutors.

The conclusion of the investigation does not mean lawmakers will move to impeach Cuomo as Heastie on Friday outlined concerns about whether they have the constitutional power to remove a former governor.

Heastie cited these concerns when announcing last week he was calling off the investigation, and did not address them again in Monday’s statement.

Key Background

This reversal follows harsh bipartisan backlash over the state assembly’s original decision to suspend the five-month probe. All six Republicans and nine out of 15 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee said the assembly should at least release a public report, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, several of the women accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment came out strongly against the investigation’s end.

Chief Critic

“We took the enormous risk of speaking out about the abuse and harassment we experienced,” Charlotte Bennett, a former aide accusing Cuomo of inappropriate sexual behavior, said over the weekend. “Still, the speaker can’t muster enough courage to do his job.”

Crucial Quote

Heastie also said last week the investigation had so far turned up “credible evidence in relation to allegations that have been made in reference to the governor.” The inquiry is looking into allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, as well as his administration’s undercounting of coronavirus-related nursing home deaths and the potential misuse of state resources for his pandemic memoir.

What To Watch For

Cuomo is set to leave office Aug. 25. He will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has already indicated she plans to run for re-election.

Further Reading

​​”Cuomo Impeachment Probe To Be Dropped After He Leaves Office, N.Y. House Speaker Says” (Forbes)

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