NY Assembly Suspends Impeachment Investigation Into Cuomo’s Actions

The New York Assembly will not move forward with its impeachment investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Friday afternoon.

The Assembly’s Judiciary Committee had been conducting an investigation of the governor’s actions since March, and had requested evidence from the New York Attorney General’s report outlining the governor’s sexual misconduct and workplace violations. The committee had also given Cuomo and his legal team until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 13th, to submit any evidence they wanted the committee to consider. But Cuomo’s decision to resign on August 24th raised questions about whether the legislature would be able to impeach him if he was already out of office. An impeachment would have meant that Cuomo would not be able to run for office again.

“First, the purpose of the impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive,” Heastie said in a statement. “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).”

However, Heastie did admit that “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.”

All evidence from the Assembly’s investigation will be turned over to the various authorities investigating Cuomo. Some members of the Assembly had been pushing to move forward with an impeachment proceeding, citing the need for accountability, while others argued it would be a waste of time and money, as well as a distraction.

Here’s Heastie’s full statement (and memo):

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.

The Judiciary Committee was scheduled to meet on Monday, August 16th. Judiciary Committee Chair Assembly Member Charles Lavine’s office has not returned a request for comment.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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