New York state lawmakers launched an impeachment inquiry into Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday amid a growing number of sexual harassment allegations, The New York Times reports.
The State Assembly announced its judiciary committee will investigate the allegations against Cuomo as well as his handling of coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes. It would be the state’s first impeachment in more than a century if lawmakers decide to move forward.
“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement, adding that the “impeachment investigation” will focus on witness interviews and document subpoenas.
The Albany police have also been notified of the latest allegation against Cuomo after the Albany Times-Union reported that a current aide told a supervisor that he aggressively groped her at the governor’s mansion last year.
New York’s attorney general is running her own investigation into the allegations.
“I think it’s hard to be having serious conversations about moving the state in a progressive direction,” Liz Krueger, a Democratic state senator from Manhattan, told the Times, “when you don’t know when the next shoe is going to drop.”
Dozens of Democrats call on Cuomo to resign:
Most of New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, including Rep. Jerry Nadler and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called on Cuomo to resign on Friday.
The call from more than a dozen congressional Democrats followed a letter signed by 59 state Democratic lawmakers -- roughly 40% of Democratic legislators -- called for him to immediately step down.
Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately but apologized for making people feel uncomfortable. He has vowed not to resign.
But Democrats like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the latest allegation is “disgusting.”
“He can no longer serve as governor,” de Blasio said Thursday. “It’s as simple as that.”
Budget chief snubs Cuomo:
The calls come as the state prepares for a laborious budget process run by Krueger, the chair of the state Senate finance committee.
Krueger told the Times that she would no longer speak to Cuomo or his top aides “because of their involvement in obscuring the death toll in nursing homes.”
“I would prefer to be dealing with the replacement governor that I think we need,” she said, referring to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Hochul would replace Cuomo if he steps down or is removed. Cuomo’s predecessor David Paterson likewise took over the governor’s job after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a sex scandal.