Speaker Carl Heastie announced Friday that the New York State Assembly will be ending its impeachment inquiry into Governor Andrew Cuomo, effective August 25. This comes days after the governor said he would be resigning in two weeks following a report from the attorney general’s office that found numerous sexual harassment allegations against him were credible.
In his statement, Heastie cites two reasons for the investigation’s suspension. First, he says the goal of the probe was to decide whether Cuomo should remain in office, a question Heastie says was resolved by the governor’s resignation. Second, the assembly speaker said the members were advised “of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office.”
“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,” Heastie added. “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,” he said.
Some members of the Assembly have expressed concern that ending the investigation without articles of impeachment means that Cuomo would not be held accountable for his actions. The City reports that some members on the Judiciary Committee felt “blindsided” by the decision.
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide who was the first to go public with allegations against the governor, called the move by the Assembly “an unjust cop-out.”
“The public deserves to know the extent of the Governor’s misdeeds and possible crimes. His victims deserve justice and to know he will not be able harm others,” she said in a tweet.
Heastie said he has asked Charles Lavine, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, to turn over the evidence the committee has gathered to the various entities currently mounting their own investigations, including the five district attorneys from Albany, Manhattan, Oswego, Nassau, and Westchester counties.