The New York State Assembly announced Wednesday that it has retained a law firm to helm the impeachment inquiry into Governor Andrew Cuomo, marking the beginning of the Legislature’s investigation into allegations against the governor.
In a press release, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Charles Lavine announced the hiring of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, a New York–based firm. The investigation is expected to look into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, as well as his administration’s handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and safety concerns surrounding the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, formerly the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Lavine, who also chairs the Assembly’s judiciary committee, said, “The addition of Davis Polk will allow my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee and me to fully and fairly investigate the allegations.”
He added, “These are serious allegations, and they will be treated with fairness, due process, and discretion.”
Heastie said, “Hiring Davis Polk will give the Committee the experience, independence, and resources needed to handle this important investigation in a thorough and expeditious manner.”
The release named Angela Burgess, Greg Andres, and Martine Beamon as three partners with Davis Polk that will work with Lavine and the Committee. All three are listed as part of the firm’s white-collar defense and investigations practice.
Members had varying opinions on whether launching an investigation rather than simply filing articles of impeachment was the right move. Heastie called the decision “due process.”
“I try to come up with something that’s best for the body. Everybody might not love it, everybody may not like it, but I try to get us to a comfortable place that protects the integrity of this house,” Heastie said during the call.