ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York’s top Democrat in the Assembly said Friday that his chamber will suspend its impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo once he steps down.
Cuomo announced his upcoming resignation on Tuesday, days after he faced increasing pressure to resign or face ouster by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
The state attorney general last week released an independent investigation that found Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women. Cuomo is scheduled to step down the week after next.
Speaker Carl Heastie said the Assembly Judiciary Committee had heard from its lawyers that it can’t impeach and remove an elected official no longer in office.
Read Heastie's full statement below:
"After consulting with Chair Lavine and my majority colleagues, the Assembly will suspend its impeachment investigation upon the governor’s resignation taking effect on August 25.
"There are two reasons for this decision. First, the purpose of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive. Second, we have been advised by Chair Lavine - with the assistance of counsel - of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office (see attached memo).
"Let me be clear - the committee’s work over the last several months, although not complete, did uncover credible evidence in relation to allegations that have been made in reference to the governor. Underscoring the depth of this investigation, this evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor’s memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This evidence - we believe - could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned.
"I have asked Chair Lavine to turn over to the relevant investigatory authorities all the evidence the committee has gathered. We are well aware that the attorney general is investigating issues concerning the governor’s memoir; the Eastern District of the United States attorney has been investigating the administration’s actions concerning nursing home data; and there are active investigations by local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions - Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego - concerning incidents of sexual misconduct.
As I have said, this has been a tragic chapter in our state’s history. The people of this great state expect and deserve a government they can count on to always have their best interests in mind. Our government should always operate in a transparent, safe and honest manner. These principles have and always will be the Assembly Majority’s commitment to all New Yorkers."