One of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first and most public accusers didn't mince words when it came to the Assembly Judiciary Committee dropping its impeachment inquiry into the embattled lawmaker.
Former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett, age 25, a Northern Westchester native, ripped into Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Sunday, Aug. 15, following the decision to let the governor off the hook after being found complicit in sexually harassing at least 11 women by the Attorney General's office.
“Speaker Carl Heastie’s unilateral decision to end the impeachment investigation into the governor sends a very clear message to New Yorkers: the New York State Assembly thinks corruption, sexual harassment/assault, and retaliation are acceptable,” she wrote in a scathing statement.
“Employing a lazy legal argument and offering a poorly reasoned memo, the Speaker has taken the coward’s way out.”
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Bennett added that “according to Heastie, there are two sets of rules: one for us, and one for him and his friends. That’s the precedent he’s set. How disturbing.”
In the statement, Bennett noted that she and the 10 other women who came forward to accuse the governor of wrongdoing took a risk, and the governor is getting to take the easy way out.
“We took the enormous risk of speaking out against the abuse and harassment we experienced, and the AG’s independent investigation that followed corroborated our allegations and determined that the governor broke state and federal law,” she said.
“Still, the Speaker can’t muster enough courage to simply do his job. After spending millions of taxpayer dollars and issuing lofty statements, he’s failed to lift a finger to make clear that New York rejects Cuomo’s behavior.”
Bennett concluded her statement with a thinly veiled threat directed toward Heastie.
“The Speaker has greatly miscalculated the commitment New Yorkers have to justice, accountability, and transparency,” she said. “We see you, Carl Heastie, and we aren’t going anywhere.”
Former aide Lindsey Boylan, the first to speak out against also took to social media to call out the Assembly’s decision to end the impeachment probe.
“The Assembly’s decision to call off its impeachment investigation is an unjust cop-out,” she posted. “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 to harm others.”
According to Heastie, Assembly lawyers found that “the constitution does not authorize the Legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office.”
“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,” he stated. “This evidence — we believe — could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned.”
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