New York Assembly to Issue Cuomo Report Despite Dropping Impeachment
(Bloomberg) -- New York lawmakers will issue the findings of a five-month investigation into the conduct of outgoing Governor Andrew Cuomo, despite a decision to drop impeachment proceedings after Cuomo said he would resign last week.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine said the panel would “continue to review evidence and issue a final report on its investigation of Governor Cuomo,” according to a joint statement issued by the lawmakers on Monday.
The statement didn’t say when the report would be issued and Lavine’s office declined to comment on a possible issue date for the report. Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Cuomo said last week he would step down on Aug. 24 following fallout from a damning report by state Attorney General Letitia James on Aug. 3, which documented 11 sexual-harassment claims against the three-term Democrat. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will serve the remainder of his term through 2022.
Despite Cuomo’s resignation, a number of lawmakers were pushing the Assembly to continue to pursue impeachment proceedings.
At least seven of the 21 members on the Judiciary Committee, including one Democrat, had wanted to push forward with their impeachment investigation in order to prevent Cuomo from running for office again and account for misconduct beyond the sexual harassment allegations. The probe was looking into whether the Cuomo administration covered up Covid-19 nursing-home deaths, provided relatives with virus testing before it was widely available, mishandled constriction of the Mario Cuomo Bridge and misused public resources for Cuomo’s $5 million leadership book.
Despite those concerns, Heastie and Lavine said they would suspend the impeachment probe on Friday, citing advice from counsel that the state constitution “does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office.”
Following a weekend of growing public pressure for the Assembly to release the investigation’s findings and provide some level of accountability for Cuomo, Heastie and Lavine said the committee would still review evidence and issue a final report on its investigation. They said the committee would ensure the report wouldn’t interfere with other federal, state and local investigations, including possible criminal probes by law enforcement authorities in Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau, and Oswego.
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